New Publication of Honen -2021 No.1

Adobe Acrobat Document 569.0 KB





Pure Land Life Magazine 2021

Adobe Acrobat Document 859.8 KB





The Multitudinous Water

Kawaikini is the highest peak on Kauai.  The elevation from sea level is 5,243 feet or 1,598m.  


It is located in almost center of the island and part of Mount Waialeale which is known as the wettest spot on Earth.  Because of the heavy rain during the night, the mountain showed us incredibly long waterfalls everywhere. 

These waterfalls are legendary falls because they last only for a few hours.  The was my second time I saw these falls after 2011.  Because the peak is often covered by clouds, its waterfalls are hardly seen.



Kawaikini literally means “the multitudinous water,” referring to plenty rainfalls throughout the year.  


Another article on Kawaikini:

Kawaikini - Koloa Jodo Mission- Buddhist Temple






We tend to think transformation from a caterpillar to a butterfly is amazing. But what is more amazing should be our transformation of our human being from birth to death. There are lots of changes physically, mentally and spiritually between birth and death. Without faith, we are quite powerless toward these incredible changes. With faith, however, we can be positive about our changes and we can change ourselves to accept these changes for better future. Did you find faith already? If not, shall we learn Buddhism? Although any religion is great but Buddhism shall be a great game changer of life. Namu Amida Butsu





Phishing Email


I'd like to let you know that I got a phishing email from the person named "Bishop Kosen" recently.  I didn't know what happened when I received it because it came to me, Kosen from "Bishop Kosen."  But I noticed the sender's email was "" which was not my email!!! 
Sorry it's so confusing but the scammer who pretends to be "Bishop Kosen" sent emails to Kauai Buddhist Council members including myself as follow:

Kosen. Could you please spare a minute to assist me in purchasing a task discreetly.

Would be glad to receive your response through email because i'm presently in a meeting.

Best Regards
. Bishop Kosen   (


I found out because three members kindly informed me about this email.  Then I found out this was a common phishing email after some research.


By pretending to be someone you know, then the scammer tries to ask you something by emails.  So please do not reply to "Bishop Kosen."   This phishing is terrible and the person named "Bishop Kosen" must be a bad guy!


Actually one of our KBC members believed it was from me and replied.  Then he got another email which said,



I'm so tied up right now.  can you help me purchase an Apple gift card 6 pieces -$100 each at any nearby store?

I would reimburse you when am through later today.  I would have preferred to call you but cannot receive or call at the moment with my line, let me know if you can purchase them now.


Best Regards

Bishop Kosen


I was glad he kindly reported this to me instead of following his email.  But I started to worry about our members who could receive this kind of phishing email. 


This kind of phishing emails are so terrible but getting to be so smart.  They hid their true intention and seek for just a simple reply at first.  Then if they got a reply from you, you can be a target.  They make and explain the situation that people could believe easily and request information or money by emails.


In case you already replied to Bishop Kosen,  please do not reply it again and please report it as phishing email. 
I've already reported this to Google but please be careful about email from "" or similar contents of the email.  
Mahalo for your attention about this matter.  Please stay safe!





Flower and Bird

After Sunday Service and Zoom meeting on Sunday, I went to see Sakura trees (known as Okinawan Cherry) in the Koke'e State Park. Because of the rough weather and strong wind recently, there were not many flowers but there were some Apapane which is Hawaiian honeycreeper endemic to the Hawaii Islands came to get the honey of the flower from time to time.
Kacho-Fugetsu(花鳥風月) which literally means “Flower, Bird, Wind & Moon” is a Japanese term to mean beauty of nature around us. Kacho-Fugetsu has been an important theme for Japanese art, especially Japanese painting called “Nihon-ga.” Lots of painters during the past centuries, have expressed “beauty” through this theme of Kacho-Fugetsu.
Among four topics, a combination of "Flower & Bird" is regarded one of supreme themes of beauty in Japan. I found myself so attracted to this theme of "Bird and Flower" and I hope I could go there again in this month.





Episode from Essays in Idleness

Mahalo to our Dharma brothers and sisters who joined in the Zoom Nenbutsu yesterday. Wow, it was unbelievable that one hour passed so quickly!


Then I watched the video of this Zoom Nenbutsu by Rev. Tsuchiya. Oh my goodness….I now can see I was falling asleep from time to time. No wonder time passed incredibly fast! But as I looked myself, somehow I was continuing to chant Namu Amida Butsu.


This reminded me a famous episode of the Essay called “Tsurezuregusa.”

Tsurezure-gusa or “Essays in Idleness” is one of the best known medieval collections of essays written by a Buddhist monk, Yoshida Kenko (1283-1352).


Tsurezure means “to have nothing to do” or “to be bored.” Kenko Hoshi was a modest priest and his writings were not paid attention while he was living. At least 100 years after he passed away, his essays became popular. Because various historical figures and incidents were mentioned in his essays, this is very valuable document to know the history.


Among 243 passages, the author wrote about an interesting episode of our Maser Honen Shonin in the 39th passage. This is based on the question and answer between Master Honen and one of his students and we can tell the author’s deep respect toward Honen Shonin.


"One day, somebody asked Honen Shonin, “While reciting Namu Amida Butsu, I sometimes doze off. This may be very lazy. What will you suggest, Master.” Honen Shonin simply answered, “Just recite Nenbusu when you wake up. That’s it.” What a precious teaching!

Honen Shonin also said “It is for sure you can be born in the Pure Land if you surely think it's possible. It is not sure about the birth in the Pure Land if you are not sure about it.” This is also very valuable.


Then Honen Shonin continued, ”Yet you can attain Ojo by reciting Namu Amida Butsu even if you may have doubt.” Again, this is also very precious!" (from Tsurezuregusa, the 39 Dan or passage)


What a great episode and essay! I love this essay not because I dozed off while chanting Nenbutsu yesterday but because the author's respect toward our Master Honen Shonin from this passage. The author Kenko Hoshi must have regarded Honen Shonin as a master of masters!


I'm very proud to be a Honen Shonin's follower. The next Zoom Nenbutsu will be hosted by Jodo Shu South America (Brazil) on March 6 at 1100 am (HST). Namu Amida Butsu.







The simultaneous NENBUTSU recitation meet

Aloha members and friends of Jodo Mission temples,
I'd like to let you know Jodo Shu Young Ministers' Association in Japan has just started "The simultaneous NENBUTSU recitation meet" in commemoration of our founder Honen Shonin's memorial day in January 25th.
This is to chant "Namu Amida Butsu" from anywhere in the world.  Please join them in reciting Nenbutsu from your place.  Honen Shonin said, "Wherever you hear Namu Amida Butsu shall be my memorial site."
If you can submit an entry form at their website below, you'll see a lotus picture on their special map.  You can send/see a message to your beloved ones or somebody special in this world with a short message on their website.   All you need to do is,
1. Recite Namu Amida Butsu from your place.
2. Fill out entry form. (For your concern about privacy, you don't need to write exact address nor real name.)  All they need is Name(nick name is fine), City Name, and Country Name.  Street address and message are completely optional.
3. Press submit button on their website.
4. Wait or come back in 5 minutes.
5. Lotus flower will be indicated on their map.
Mahalo for your participation in advance.  Please stay safe and enjoy chanting Namu Amida Butsu at home.
Gassho, Kosen Ishikawa





2021 Gyoki -What does "Easy Practice" mean? Part I





2021 New Year's Day Message





HBC Virtual Bodhi Day Service

It was truly a pleasure and privilege to work for two Bodhi Day Services this year.  This Virtual Bodhi Day Service is sponsored by Hawaii Buddhist Council which consists of 7 major Japanese Buddhist Sects' headquarters: Higashi Hongwanji, Honpa Hongwanji, Jodo Mission of Hawaii, Nichiran Mission of hawaii, Koyasan Shingon Mission of Hawaii, Soto Mission of Hawaii and Tendai Mission of Hawaii.  Our featured speaker is Dr./Rev. Kenneth Tanaka, Professor Emeritus of Musashino University.  

The service starts exactly same time as Kauai Buddhist Council's Bodhi Day Service.  So you can watch this later.  I'm sure you'll enjoy both services and Dharma talks!!!  Happy Bodhi Day!






Kauai Buddhist Council 2020 Bodhi Day Service

Please click below for downloading a 2020 Bodhi Day Program.

2020 Bodhi Day Program (1).pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 407.5 KB





One Tatami Mat for Sleeping

"Half Tatami mat for waking up, one mat for sleeping."

This is the proverb used and loved by the people during late Edo period in Japan.  The author is unknown.  This impies no matter how you live in a huge mansion and no matter how gorgeous room you may have, the space you’d need is just half a Tatami mat for seating or standing and one mat for sleeping. 


This saying is usually quoted when you’d like to emphasize on importance of satisfaction and self content life but I understand it differently.  I see this saying as a great example of human equality and how we can see people equal. 


Needless to say, there are tremendously many types or variety of people and many races in this world.  Then how can we respect each other? And how can we be happy together? People during the Edo period must have sought for the positive understanding because people at that time were forced to live in the world of unequally. 

They must have thought about equality.  What was common between the samurai and the merchant?  What was common between the nobles and the common?  Thus they got this viewpoint that minimum space for people are almost same.  Namely they were able to reach the thought of equality by realizing the size of human being. They realized whether people are rich or poor, Samurai or farmer, merchant or priest, there are not much difference in sizes and in the minimum space for human being living. 

While there are still racial discrimination going on, we should all realize we are not essentially different.  Interestingly this proverb later got an additional phrase....even if you become a ruler of the world, you cannot eat more than two and a half cups of rice at a time.  This implies even if you get abundant of rice, the amount you could eat daily is very limited like ordinally people.


I like this short saying very much.  However I think the last part is not always correct......because I've eaten three cups of rice at a time by making Musubi.  






Meaning of Hanabi - A Brief History of Fireworks in Japan

Fireworks or Hanabi which literally means "Flower of Fire (Hana=Flower, Bi/Hi=Fire)" were said to be invented in China during the Song Dynasty(960–1279).  Fireworks were used for various festivities and also they were used in order to get rid of evil sprits and bring good fortune to the people.  The custom to celebrate new year with fireworks was originated from this belief that fireworks could scare away evil spirits.


Amid of this coronavirus pandemic, Ive heard fireworks in Japan were originally used to expel the outbreak of epidemic.  Thus I had some interests in the history of fireworks in Japan and made a video of brief history of Hanabi above.  It was quite interesting and I got the reason why people shout "Tamaya" toward fireworks in Japan.


One of the first documents which mentioned about the usage of the fireworks was a private diary called Kennaiki written by Madenokoji Tokifusa (1395-1457) .  There was an article dated March 21, 1447 says After memorial service at Shojokein Temple which is a Jodo Shu temple, some kind of arts by fire was performed and because it was so splendid like a shooting star, Tokifusa praised and gave award to the people who seemed to be Chinese.    Since there were trade ships going back and forth between Japan and Ming Dynasty during Muromachi era (1336-1573), it is considered that fireworks were brought to Japan during this time.


In 1543, an epoch making event happened in Japan.  A Chinese  ship with Portuguese merchants on board drifted down and for the first time, guns were introduced to Japan.  Soon after this event, many more guns, arts of guns and the way how to make gun were also brought to Japan with Society of Jesus missionaries.  After that, more descriptions of fireworks were seen in the documents and in 1582, a Portuguese missionary used fireworks at the temple for the missionaries which was given by Otomo Sorin who was a well-known Christian feudal lord during Sengoku period in Japan.  Within less than 50 years, guns had become necessary weapon for the battles in Japan.


In the Edo period, when the peaceful era started especially after the big battle at Osaka Castle with Toyotomi Hideyori, guns became not important because of no battle.  As a result, a gunpowder shop specializing in fireworks appeared.  There exists an article to report the Shogunate banned fireworks outside the Sumida River in 1648.  Therefore, fireworks are assumed to have been popular since that time.   Of course, the fireworks at that time was small.   According to "Wakan Sansai Zukai" (written by Yoshiyasu Terashima, an encyclopedia of the Edo period) which was published in 1712, pinwheel called Nezumi-Hanabi (Rat Fireworks) which moves like a rat was introduced.


Fireworks bans were often issued in Edo since it could cause accident and fire which could ruin the city.   Therefore production of fireworks moved to the rural area gradually.


The oldest firework company in Japan which still exist is Kagiya.  In 1659, Kagiya started selling toy fireworks.  In 1810, one of the fireworks craft men of the Kagiya was allowed to be independent and started the company called Tamaya.   Since then, these two companies competed each other and brought much improvement for the fireworks.   

In Japan, when fireworks is launched to the sky, I remember people shout Tamayaaaa toward the fireworks over the sky.  I didnt know why people shout Tamaya and sometimes Kagiya but now I understand it.  This was from the custom by the people of Edo during the fireworks festival that they used to shout either of the two major fireworks companies to express their love or support to one of their favorite fireworks company.   However Tamaya was ordered to close down as a penalty that they caused fire to burn houses in 1843. 


Interestingly after this coronavirus, the roots of Sumida River Fireworks Festival which is one of two major fireworks festivals in Tokyo has been spotlighted.  It is said this festival was started by the 8th Shogun Tokugawa Yoshimune who ordered to have a Segaki Service by the river in order to pray and console the souls who passed away by the famine and outbreak of Cholera in 1732.  It is said after the service, Yoshimune sponsored fireworks in order to get rid of the decease.   


Although this story may not be historically true, it is telling us the original important purpose of the fireworks which is to expel the evil spirits by making sound, fire and smoke.   This year many organizations cancelled the Forth of July fireworks in order to avoid crowds of the people, but it is good to know one of the purposes of fireworks is to get rid of the outbreak.






Great Ocean of Buddhism

"Great ocean of Buddha-Dharma should be entered with "Shin (faith)" and cross it with "Chi (wisdom)."


by Nagarjuna (From the Treatise on the Great Parjnaparamita (Daichido-ron))


All Jodo Shu followers know Ichimai-Kishomon (One Sheet Testament) by our Master Honen but very little know about existence of various Ichimai-Kishomon by successors of Honen Shonin in the linage of Jodo Shu.


Because Ichimai-Kishomon is written on only one sheet, it is considered to be super essence of the teachings or the thoughts by the writer. However, as far as I know, there is no information at all, even in Japanese that have introduced various “Ichimai-Kishomon” except Honen's one through the internet.


There are actually “Chinzei Zenji Ichimai Kishomon” by 2nd founder Shoko Shonin, “Kishu Zenji Ichimai-Kishomon” by 3rd founder Ryochuu Shonin, “Jakuei Shonin Ichimai Kishomon” by Ryogyo the 4th founder of Jodo shu, “Joei Shonin Ichimai Kishomon” by Ryoyo Shonin the 5th founder of Jodo shu, “Ryojun Shonin Ichimai Kishomon” “Ryosen Shonin Ichimai Kishomon” and so on.


“The only source I was able to reach was Jodo Shu Zensho which is all collections of Jodo Shu Books. Although there are no modern Japanese translations for Jodo Shu Zensho, I’m so grateful for the fact enormous amount of Jodo Shu resources are available online.


As I aspired to do more translations of important Jodo Shu resources, I’m now choosing the documents which were not translated into English nor modern Japanese. I know this is such a challenge but slowly and steadily, I’ll work on this project and share my translations with you.


Buddhism is indeed incredible ocean of treasures and I’ll be careful not being drown there. Not like Nagarjuna who said “Great ocean of Buddha-Dharma should be entered with “Shin”(faith) and cross it with Chi (wisdom)”, I don’t have intention to get cross this huge ocean. But at least I’d like to enjoy waves of Buddhism while going on my journey as a Jodo Shu priest.


Brand-new translation for our 2nd founder's "Ichimai Kishomon" will be coming up. Gassho





Tokuhon and the Sword Master

Boat is rudder,
Fan is pivot
Then Ojo is what?
Namua Amida Butsu
And unshakable faith.
by Tokuhon Gypka (1745-1825)


In the beginning of Bunka period(1804-1818), there was a master of Kendo or Way of Sword, named Terada Goemon (also called Terada Muneari) (1745-1825) who founded “Tenshin Ittoryu Style” in the domain of the Lord Takasaki Clan. He was so impressed with a short poem above by Tokuhon Gyoja and encouraged his men to practice Nenbutsu.


One of his students named “Shirai Toru (1783-1843)” who later became an unparalleled sword master but when he was under training, he seemed to boasted his commandment of the sword after visiting many Dojos. Master Terada instantly saw his arrogance and ordered him to go to see Tokuhon.

Shirai Toru was unsatisfied with what his master ordered because he thought Tokuhon was not a sword master but just a priest.


At that time, Tokuhon was staying at Katsuo-ji Temple in Setsu (Osaka) and observing a special Nenbutsu practice. It was on the 15th when Shirai went to see Tokuhon, he was in the midst of preaching. Shirai instantly felt dignity and unusual inner power of Tokuhon and couldn’t do anything except leaving.


On the next day, Shrai Toru requested to see Tokuhon formally and introduced himself politely as follows; “I’m a student of Master Terada Goemon who ordered me to go to see you and hear your teaching. I’d very much appreciate if you could share good teaching about improving my way of sword.”


Then Tokuhon showed him smile and said, “I am just a Nenbutsu practitioner. I don’t know anything about way of sword. All I know is to practice Nenbtutsu and to attain the birth in the Pure Land. Why don’t you recite Nenbutsu for your own future.” As soon as Tokuhon said to Shirai, Tokuhon turned back to face Amida Buddha and started chanting Namu Amida Butsu by hitting a Sho-bell.


Shirai was so impressed by Tokuhon’s no doubt about his action. By staring at Tokuhon’s chanting of Nenbutsu, all of sudden, Shirai fully realized the depth of Kendo.


Later Shirai recalled this moment of awakening and told his men, “When I once saw Tokuhon chanting Nenbutsu with just a small hitting stick of the bell, his inner power so called “Ki” looked as if he was confronting thousands of enemies. Yet, he didn’t show any hesitation and carelessness in Chanting Nenbutsu.


This story reminds me of Nakajima Atsushi’s famous novel called “Meijin-den” or “The legend of the Master.” This is an amazing short story how a young man became a legend of master Archery by learning archery of no archery.


I think Shirai realized the existence of ultimate way of the sword that doesn’t require a sword. While having a sword, one is attached to the sword more or less and one cannot think out of the box. However by holding no sword or by leaving the sword, one can attain free mind that is far from the attachment. Just like the best words must be far from words, the best way of sword is that not used.





2020 BSC Summer Session

The Buddhist Study Center(BSC) will offer “Interlinked: Understanding the Origins and Evolution of American Buddhism,” a free online Buddhist study class series on June 22-26, 2020 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. (HST) featuring the noted scholar, Rev. Dr. Duncan Ryuken Williams, author of American Sutra, a ground-breaking book published in 2019.
The study class series will cover the Foundations of American Buddhism, Buddhism in Hawaii during World War II, Religious Freedom and Buddhism during World War II, American Buddhism and Ecology, and Buddhist Social Engagement in a series of five two-hour lecture over five nights.
The study class series will be available online through a link available at the Buddhist Study Center website,  Pre-registration is not required and the lectures are free and open to the public. Donations to the Buddhist Study Center are gratefully accepted in the spirit in which they are given.

Detailed information and the full syllabus are available at   BSC was established in 1972 as a part of Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii.


I'd like to express my deepest appreciation to the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii and BSC for their generous gift of Dharma.  Also I'd like to thank Bishop Matsumoto for sharing this information with us.  





Happy Father's Day!

I think I have quite a few regrets in my life so far and one of the biggest regrets was I quit going to the piano lessons as I turned to be a teenager. It was difficult to persuade my father about quitting but he was finally convinced when I insisted I would keep practicing without a teacher.


After that I actually couldn't continue playing the piano any more and dedicated myself to more sports. It was after I came to Hawaii I restarted working to play some Gartha. Then many years have passed by and I completely forgot I could play some Garthas, too. Wow, even I was surprised that I didn't forget how to play the Vandana Ti-Sarana!!!


Buddha teaches us No need to stick to the regrets because we are not living in the past but living in the present moment for better future. Now I can tell my father...I can still practice playing the piano and I'm thankful for that.


Happy Father's Day to you all!





Making Aloha

Every year I make "Aloha" at Koloa Jodo Mission to welcome Bon Festival. Though pandemic still continues this year, I want to offer Aloha to our members, friends, visitors and our beloved deceased during O-Bon. I took time-lapse photos for making Aloha yesterday on June 14, 2020.


As I make this video, I want to thank our President Alvin Akimoto for his donation of time and energy to maintain our temple ground. Especially I'm extra thankful for him this year because I can do more Bishop's job thanks to his support.


Also in this video, I am introducing a super light portable chair called "Karu-suke" from Japan!!! It weighs only 7 oz (200gram) and max load capacity is 260lbs (120kg). It costs about $7. (The cheapest one available online was 560yen or $6). It's also available at Amazon Japan. This can be very useful for weeding, gardening, outside events such as watching parade and also good for photo-shooting. This is one of good items to buy when you go to Japan.


This is really amazing but I have to be careful when I use this.....Because it's so light, I sometimes forget I have it on and go out.....Then I notice it because people look questioning!





Jishin - Confidence




自  信   教  人   信    


難  中   轉   更   難


大  悲   傳  普   化    


眞  成  報   仏   恩


To believe in the Buddha's Teaching and to enable others 

to believe in it, is a very difficult task.

If we could transmit His Teaching to others and enable them to rejoice in it, we would be paying our respect to His boundless mercy and truly fulfilling our obligation.

(Ojuo-Raisan by Master Shandao)


This short verse is called "Jishin-ge" which is written on "The Hymns in Praise of Birth in the Pure Land (Ojuo-Raisan)" by the Pure Land Buddhist Master Shandao (613-681).


This short verse could represent our difficult but most rewarding task to teach Buddha's teaching.  Therefore when we Jodo Shu ministers get together for the occasions such as workshops and lecturers, we recite this Jishin-ge together to realize our important mission.   Also we offer this verse to our Pure Land Masters during special services.


The word "Jishin" which literally means "to believe self"


is now understood as "confidence."  So this title of verse "Jishin-ge" could be translated as "Verse of Confidence."


Needless to say, it is impossible to make others to believe without your believing.  In other words, you cannot be confident if you cannot believe yourself.



So this verse is actually stressing the importance of "your believing" which can be called "Faith." As we have faith, we can be confident.   



To believe in Pure Land is actually not easy but it is definitely much more difficult to make people believe.  However if we are truly successful in our mission to transmit Buddha's great compassion, it is our great reward which could repay a deep obligation from the Buddha and our Buddhist masters.






Disadvantage can be Advantage

Please enjoy Online Jodo Buddhist Sunday Service which will be premier on Sunday, June 7, 2020 at 10:30a.m.

This could be my best online Sunday Service video and you can actually watch it anytime after tomorrow. 

The disadvantage of LIVE streaming video is nothing but a fact that I cannot edit the video. But I came to realize this can be a great advantage because I don't need to spend time for editing!


Honen Shonin pointed out two conditions that are not in accordance with the Essential Vow of Amida Buddha and also mentioned two conditions that are in accordance of the Essential Vow of Amida Buddha. What are two conditions?

Honen Shonin clearly showed us examples that disadvantage can be advantage depending on the viewpoint!





New Normal

Yesterday, Governor Ige issued the supplementary proclamation and showed time-line for reopening of Hawaii. Although nothing is certain about this pandemic yet, it was at least good to know our current standing position toward the goal for Hawaii. Then I noticed an unusual word, “New Normal” which was quite different from what we meant before.


We all wish to be back to normal life but as Governor Ige showed our goal as New Normal which may not to go back to our normal life but we need to build new stand for living safely. This means we need to continue our efforts to protect ourselves and our community for both our safety and economy. We might need both social distancing and face mask for much longer period but we should not worry about future.


I remember before 9/11, security screening at the airport was very quick, simple and easy. Everybody was allowed to get inside the terminal in order to send off our friends and guests. But 9/11 changed our normal forever. TSA security screening became very strict and we got many restrictions about boarding. Then people cannot send off their Ohana or friends at the boarding gate. I remember strict screening was so burden at that time but without knowing it, we are so accustomed to this new normal.


Fortunately we have ability to get used to the new situation and time makes us forget what we didn't like. So we don’t need to worry about this new normal in the future. What is important is always to live in this moment. Namu Amida Butsu






I like both dolphin and aquarium.  Also I like a dolphin show. It’s so amazing to watch their advanced performance and huge jumping. However as I am so used to watch wild dolphins swimming freely in the sea, I cannot help feeling sorry for dolphins about their pool where they do a show for us. Though there may be different sizes of pools but they are all tiny as compared to their natural living space called ocean.


Of course ocean is not always sweet.  Dolphins in nature are free to swim anywhere but they always have to keep searching for their food.  I understand they need lots of food of fish.  Also there exists enemies such as shark and killer whale for baby dolphins in the ocean. And in certain areas,  human being too could be their enemy, too.  But among all, the biggest enemy for all the dolphins is said to be the various virus and parasitic worm in the ocean.


So it is true living in aquarium is not always bad for them. However really bad thing for dolphins or all the animals except human, they cannot choose their life…either safe life with food or free life with danger.


What a great and grateful thing if we can choose our way of life!   As long as we can choose a way, we should choose and walk on the right path. Namu Amida Butsu.





The simplest answer

What is Buddhism?  This is my eternal theme and I repeat asking myself what is Buddhism whenever I have a chance to talk.


Today I presented one of the simplest answers by comparing Chinese/Japanese and English.  Opening talk and ending talk after the service.






Death Poem

My father emailed me bunch of his favorite poems by both Ryokan and Tokuhon Shonin as I introduced their short poems in English. I never sent my thank-you yet but I was so glad to know so many amazing poems related to our Nenbutsu. I think I could enjoy translation of more poems in the future for longer time. One of great poems I was attracted this morning was Ryokan’s Tanka which is considered to be his another death poem or “Jisei no Ku.”


・良寛に 辞世あるかと 人問はば 南無阿弥陀仏と 言ふと答えよ


What if Ryokan has
Death poem leaving for us
(a death poem in his mind)
When one asks you
“Namu Amida Butsu”
Tell my simple answer


This is the poem which embodies Ryokan’s life style of non-attachment which he kept practicing throughout the priest life. His life, although he was born as a child of rich family, was almost free from desires to be rich nor to be famous. He lived in a humble house, wearing poor ragged robe and satisfied food whatever he received as offering. It is well-known that he sometimes forgot to beg for food offering as he devoted himself playing with children. So he must have kept living in the present moment and he seemed to have no regrets in the past and no worries in the future.


Therefore, he seemed to consider his last words as just “Namu Amida Butsu” and then he made this poem…..if somebody ask you about Ryokan’s death poem or last words, you should answer (Ryokan’s death poem was ) just “Namu Amida Butsu.”


I’m not sure but I think this death poem was made between conversations with Ryokan and Teishin who took care of sick Ryokan in his final years of life. Teishin was a young nun who felt very cloes to Ryokan. And between Teishin and Ryokan, there exist many poems including a famous “maple leaf poem.”


Although I got my own idea and new translation for the poem, I chose to use Rev. Kubose’s translation because I couldn’t remove the first impression of the simplest translation for more than two decades.


Showing front,
showing back.
Maple leaves fall.
By Ryokan (1758-1831)

(Translated by Rev. Gyomay Kubose


My another understanding of this song is based on the fact Ryokan practiced both Zen meditation and Nenbutsu chanting. From many of his poems, it was obvious he believed in the original vow of Amida Buddha and practiced Nenbutsu until the moment of death.


Therefore I understood font and back as “Nenbutsu” and “Meditation.” This was the way Ryokan walked on the both paths and died. "Teishin recorded how he passed away. Ryōkan, seated in meditation posture, died 'just as if he were falling asleep.....


When I get a chance to go back to my hometown, I think I should explore to Ryokan’s memorial sites since they are not so far from our home. I hadn’t interested in him but got more interested in the great priest from our Niigata prefecture.





Front and Back

Showing front,
Showing back,
Maple leaves fall.

By Ryokan Shonin(1758-1831)
(Translated by Rev. Gyomay M. Kubose)
うらを見せ おもてをみせて 散るもみぢ


This Haiku written by Ryokan(1758-1831) has been widely known in the world and quoted by various people for many years. Ryokan was a Soto Zen priest (1758–1831) during the late Edo period. Because Ryokan spent most of his life as hermit, living in a humble abode, he was not famous during his lifetime. But he left many great poems and calligraphies which made Ryokan well known, about 100 years later after his death.


Ryokan was born as a first son of rich landlord of Izumozaki, currently Niigata prefecture. But as he studied more about Chinese thoughts and Buddhism, he left his house to seek for the truth and became a priest. His Buddhist name was Ryokan Taigu which literally means “Good generous great fool” which was what Ryokan humbly wanted to be. He was also known as a priest who loved playing with kids.


Life of Ryokan and his great works were revealed and introduced through the writers of Taisho period such as Soma Gyofuu. Interestingly, Ryokan loved practicing Nenbutsu and left many poems related to Namu Amida Butsu while he was a Soto Zen priest.


This Haiku was one of Ryokan’s death poems called “Jisei no ku” or just “Jisei” in Japanese. “Ji” means to farewell and Sei means “this world.” So Jisei indicates a poem or short sentence to say good bye to this world through one of the forms of poetry. Jisei usually is written according to the author’s reflection of life. And in many cases, the essence of author's life is imparted in the short form of poem.


I have understood this Ryokan’s Haiku in two ways. The first understanding is to regard front as “vanity” which is one of our desires to show off our “goodness” to the people. If we did something good, we naturally want to tell people what we did. On the other hand, back is something that we don’t want to show to the public such as mistakes, shame and embarrassing things. So our life is, in a sense, to try to keep showing only front side and hiding back side.


However whenever there is light, there is shadow. There is no front side which does not have a back side. “Back” is our important part of life. You don’t need to make confession on your secrets or mistakes, but we cannot ignore “back” and need to face and work together. Back can be our suppressed desire or sometimes our feeling of hatred as opposed to love. By facing and working together with back and front, we can be tolerate and compassionate. Ryokan must have realized both our good and bad side of desires and lived harmoniously with both front and back.


Of course, whether it is front or back is just our temporary understanding depending on the viewpoint. It can be easily opposite. Front can be back and back can be front. Same is true to the idea of good or bad. Depending on the situation, good can be bad and bad can be good. Also another understanding that front and back as one is possible.


After all, Ryokan, wanted to express life as a falling maple leaf. Just like its showing both font and back, life is filled with duality such as good times and bad times, pleasure and suffering, happiness and unhappiness, peace and anger and so on. Ryokan saw this duality in life. (To be continued).





Tokuhon Shonin


At the time of ending (6)
Mind should be experiencing (8)
Messed and distracted (5)
Unless you know and prepare (7)
Death can happen anytime. (7)


終わりには 心顛倒するものぞ 常に終わりの 用心なければ
Tokuhon Shonin (1758- 1818)
(Translated by Kosen Ishikawa)


This poem was written by Tokuhon Shonin (1758-1818) , born in Wakayama, who was well-known as a Saint of Nenbutsu practitioner during late Edo period. He organized “Nenbutsu-ko” called “Tokuhon-ko” around the capitol city and travelled around Japan in order to preach and practice the essence of Nenbutsu to all people.

He was also known as an outstanding poet and calligrapher. He wrote many holy-name of Amida Buddha “Namu Amida Butsu” with his unique style to give many people. Wherever he stayed at temple, he was welcomed by hundreds of thousands of people with enthusiasm and then after he left, the monument of “Namu Amida Butsu” by his calligraphy was dedicated in commemoration of having Tokuhon Shonin at the temple.

This monument is called “Myogou-seki” or “Holy Name Stone.” There are about one thousand of his monument of “Namu Amida Butsu.” It is said there was no one who didn’t know Tokuhon in Japan at that time. His style of chanting Nenbutsu was known as hard hitting of wooden drum and bell with strong voice. It’s called “Tokuhon Nenbutsu.”

Fortunately I was raised at the temple where this Holy Name monument was dedicated and grew up with chanting of Nenbutsu naturally. Then I happened to know my style of chanting Nenbutsu is similar to Tokuhon style.

In this poem, Tokuhon starts with a strong warning of our ending. At the time of dying, we are supposed to fear it and our mind can be easily distracted and confused. Then how can we avoid this fear of death and distracted mind? Tokuhon simply stressed we need to prepare for death anytime. By always realizing this moment could be our last moment, we won’t waste this time nor we won’t be confused. We cannot avoid death but we can avoid worries of death by preparation of death at each moment.

He didn’t mention anything about Nenbutsu in this short poem but what he really meant was Nenbutsu in the present moment can be the best preparation for our ending which could be a brand-new beginning of the Prue Land.





Pure Land here and now

Amida’s Pure Land,                           (5 syllables)
Extremely far Buddha Land,              (7 syllables)
Before I had thought.                         (5 syllables)
Namu Amida Butsu                            (7 syllables)
Now it comes here at my feet            (7 syllables)


By Dr. /Archbishop Benkyo Shiio (1876-1971)
(Translated by Kosen Ishikawa)


極楽は 遥けきくにと 思いしに なむあみだぶに かよう足元 (Gokuraku wa Harukeki Kuni to Omoishi ni Namu Amida Butsu ni Kayou Ashimoto)


This is another short poem called “Tanka” written by Dr. Benkyo Shiio who was the 82nd Chief Abbot of Zojoji Head Temple. It is known as “Zojoji no Goeika” or “Song of Zojoji.”

Many Japanese Tanka have been translated into English with a Quatrain style which is a type of four lines stanza with one of rhyme schemes. Some translators translate Tanka into two-lines poem in English, because all Tanaka can be divided into two parts. (The first three lines and two lines.)


I don’t have any attachment of my preference of stanza but I enjoy translation of 5 lines Japanese Tanka into English with 5 lines and certain numbers of 5-7-5-7-7 syllables. Of course, it is always better to follow one of the rhyme schemes, and I want to rearrange words in the future.

However my top priority is to introduce wonderful Japanese Tanka and its meanings to English-speaking members and friends as an addition to our assets of our teachings.


This Tanka is very similar to the Kuya Shonin’s Tanka which I introduced before.

We have heard,
the Pure Land,
is far, far away
yet striving earnestly
we reach our destination
(Translated by Jonathan Watts & Rev. Yoshiharu Tomatsu)


The first three lines are almost same. The difference is just a verb. Dr. Shiio used the verb “thought (think)” while Kuya Shonin used the verb “heard(hear).” They are both talking about general impressions on the Pure Land as extremely far land.


Then in the following last two lines, Dr. Shiio expressed his strong realization that Pure Land comes here whenever he recites Namu Amida Butsu whereas Kuya Shonin mentioned two ways to reach the Pure Land on the last two lines.


This Tanka may represent Dr. Shiio’s faith that Ojuo is possible through Nenbutsu in this present moment which is quite different from the traditional Jodo Shu that stresses Ojo is attained through death.


But what he really wanted to say in this Tanka was through Nenbutsu, we can be connected to Amida Buddha anywhere and anytime whenever we recite Namu Amida Butsu.


In 1949, Dr. Shioo visited Hawaii for about a month to give special services and teachings at Jodo Shu temples from September 2 to October 11. Koloa Jodo Mission had an honor to welcome Dr. Shiio and many members took part in the “Jukai” or “to receive precepts” ceremony and received “Dharma Name” from Dr. Shiio.





Now is the time

Now is the time,
The Place is here at your feet,
Living in awareness,
Through the life we live hard,
Eternal life can be realized.

時は今、ところ足元、そのことに 打ち込むいのち

By Dr. Shiio Benkyo, the 82nd Chief Abbot of Zojoji Temple
(Translated by Kosen Ishikawa)

This short poem is one of the masterpiece poems by Dr. Shiio Benkyo (1876-1971) who was known as an unparalleled Jodo Shu priest.

For me, this poem has been my source of inspirations. It's so simple and such a short poem. However it was truly difficult to translate it English with poetic sound.

Dr. Shiio was a multitalented priest who was s Buddhist scholar, philosopher, social activist and also a member of House of the Representatives in Japan.

He started “Kyosei(Tomoiki)”movement to apply Honen Shonin’s teachings to daily life for the betterment of society. “Kyosei” or “Tomoiki” literally means “co-living” or “Living together” which was his modern translation of “to be born in the Pure Land together.”

His core idea of co-living is based on the fundamental Buddhist doctrine of “Engi(pratītya-samutpāda)” or dependent origination that all things without exception are interdependent and interrelated each other. Traditionally this can be simply expressed as “this is because that is.” Or “ "if this exists, that exists; if this ceases to exist, that also ceases to exist".

Based on this interdependency, Dr. Shiio understood that the life we live was actually a part of “eternal life” and by realizing this eternal life, co-living could be possible.

Dr. Shiio seemed to think it would be difficult for modern people to believe in Amida Buddha and his Pure Land. Thus he stressed the importance of living in the present moment here with others in order to transmit Jodo teachings even to the modern people who are not Buddhists.

As Dr. Shiio intended this movement practiced in the wider society, this short poem has been recognized widely over the time and quoted by not only priests but also various specialists.

Needless to say, life we are living is supported by many people and many things both in the past and in the present. In other words, thanks to countless blessings, we are now living. And if we can be mindful of this interdependency, we can realize we are not alone nor independent. We are connected to the very core of life which doesn’t have both beginning and ending, so-called eternity.

Dr. Shiio found eternity in this present moment. There is no past nor future without this present moment. This short poem indicates both past and future lies here and now in this present moment. Dr. Shiio encourages us not to miss this chance of now and not to waste this precious time.

But this is not all. Dr. Shiio put another meaning onto this poem. That is Nenbutsu. By reciting Namu Amida Bu(tsu) in this moment, we can become one with Amida Buddha who is known as Buddha of eternal life. And even after we die, we are able to live for good and all though the practice of Nenbutsu now.




The Cycle of Life: The Role of Kyosei in Changing Society by Dr. Ryojun Sato, Professor of Taisho University.






White-rumped Shama

White-rumped Shama is known as one of the best songbirds in Hawaii. The voice is clear and beautiful especially loud around both sunrise and sunset time. It was introduced to Hawai’I from Malaysia in 1931 and again in 1940 and established on Kaua’I, Oahu, Molokai and possibly on Maui, according to “A photographic Guide to the Birds of Hawaii.”

This bird was named after its white rump while Japanese name, “Akahara Shikicho” was named after its brown part of the belly. It’s very interesting to know bird’s name in different languages since most birds were named after their characteristics according to their viewpoint of their culture. Japanese name, Akahara-shikicho can be divided into five words; Aka(Red)Hara(Belly) Shi(Four) Ki(Season) Cho(Bird).

I think there are quite numbers of white-rumped Shama in Koloa since I often see both male and female together. Some years ago, I happened to find its eggs on the unused bucket and enjoyed their growing from eggs to babies.

One time, a young white-rumped shama came inside our temple and I had very hard time to get it out. Although the temple door was wide open, but for the bird, open part must have seen closed because it was against the light. It took more than one hour for the bird to go out but it gave me a good chance to take photos of juvenile!





Power of Light

When I was sorting photos of various ponds in Japanese gardens, I noticed color of water was pretty different depending on the location and time. Some ponds look very clear, some look brown and some look green. To my surprise, one of Eikando’s pond photos look blue. Then I noticed the existence of light. Color of the water in the pond looks all different because of the reflection of light. This simple realization of light led me to have new understanding and translation of our Master Honen’s short poem called “Pond Water Poem.”



Water of the pond, (5 syllables)

A human heart and mind are, (7syllables)

Similar and alike. (6 syllables)

Whether it’s muddy or clear, (7 syllables)

Changing and never settled. ( 7 syllables)

By Honen Shonin

Water in the pond looks different depending on the pond. Some are clear and some muddy. However with the power of sunlight, even the muddy pond can look so clear. So it doesn’t matter whether it is muddy or clear, because color is set by not pond itself but the sunlight. The original vow of Amida Buddha is exactly like sunlight which influences the color of water. Whether we are pure or not is actually never issue, because Amida Buddha keeps shining infinite light onto us. For Amida Buddha, we are all same kind, not so different.

Honen Shonin must have realized the importance of sunlight when he saw water in the pond. Sunlight represents infinite light of Amida Buddha.   Namu Amida Butsu





Too much can be as bad as too little

What a good idea! As soon as I saws the news of Koinobori with social distancing in Japan, I couldn’t help setting up carp streamers again with social distancing here!

However when I showed this picture to my wife, she told me it was too much of a good thing. She continued, “Our human beings and maybe animals are necessary to do this. But isn’t it necessary for Koinobiri to practice social distancing? Let at least Koinobori do what we cannot do! Let Koi carps swim stick together!”

I deeply appreciate my wife who always give me her honest opinions. Her opinion is sometimes too honest, though.
I definitely thought Koinobori with social distancing was very good however what she said made me realize my self-centered ego which tries to apply “good idea” to all occasions….

At the same time, I realize there should be many opinions and among many opinions, I need to practice Buddhism to choose to do what is right. One of the core teachings of Buddhism is balance. Too much can be as bad as too little. The person who can tell us "too much" or "too little" is precious.

Another weekend is already coming again. Mother’s Day is just around the corner. I wish you and your family to enjoy safe Mother’s Day weekend.

I just let you know another LIVE Jodo Buddhist Sunday Service will be available at my YouTube Channel on Mother's Day at 10:30a.m.





Water of the Pond

Eikan-dō Zenrin-ji Temple, Kyoto
Eikan-dō Zenrin-ji Temple, Kyoto

Water of the pond

A human mind

Very similar to each other

Whether it's muddy or clear,

Never settled but keep changing


By Honen Shonin (1133-1212)

池の水 人の心に 似たりけり にごりすむこと さだめなければ

(Translated by Kosen Ishikawa)



Short poem called Tanaka written by Honen Shonin are listed in “Honen Shonin Gyojou-ezu” (An Illustrated Biography of Honen Shonin).  There are 17 poems listed in the chapter 30 and two more poems are written in the different chapters.    So total of 19 short poems are said to be written by Honen Shonin, according to Jodo Shu Daijiten.


At the beginning of the chapter 30-6, Shunjo(1255-1335) who was the author/editor of “Honen Shonin Gyojo-ezu” made comments that Honen Shonin was not a Tanka poet however because of our culture which express our thoughts through Tanka with a fixed form, Honen Shonin naturally made short poems from time to time.  There must be poems which were transmitted to his disciples and some poems must have been known after Honen Shonin passed away.


This short verse is known as “Pond Water Poem.”   The color of water in the pond is sometimes clear, sometimes yellow, sometimes red and muddy.  It is always changing and uncontrollable because of the huge amount of water.  By looking at the pond, Honen Shonin thought this was very similar to our mind. 


Our mind is sometimes clear but not always so.  Sometimes we are impatient and sometimes we are upset about something.  No matter how good deeds we have done in the past but there is no guarantee our mind can be kept pure and good in the future.  Just like water in the pond become muddy so easily right after raining hard, our mind can be easily impure if we are involved in the misfortune. 


Honen Shonin was known as the most wise priest of the age and saint yet he saw himself as an ordinary man who was more or less the same with other people who are sinful.



This short poem excellently tells us how Honen Shonin understands our human being.  Just like water in the pond, our human nature cannot be fixed.  However because of this realization, Honen Shonin was able to encounter the original vow of Amida Buddha and realized our mind is not an issue in order to attain birth in the Ultimate land of Amida Buddha.





Kūya Shonin's Verse

Statue of Kuya Shonin By ASUKAEN - ASUKAYEN, HISTOIRE DES BEAUX-ARTS JAPONAIS, TOYO-BIZYUTU, n. SPECIAL 10e. 1933, Nov., Nara, Japan, Public Domain,
Statue of Kuya Shonin By ASUKAEN - ASUKAYEN, HISTOIRE DES BEAUX-ARTS JAPONAIS, TOYO-BIZYUTU, n. SPECIAL 10e. 1933, Nov., Nara, Japan, Public Domain,

We have heard

The Pure Land

Is far, far away,

Yet striving earnestly

We reach our destination

-By Kuya Shonin (903-972)

(Translated by Jonathan Watts & Rev. Yoshiharu Tomatsu)

極楽は はるけきほどと 聞きしかど つとめていたる 所なりけり

 ――空也上人 『千載和歌集』 (巻第十八)


It is said this short poem was written by Kuya Shonin(903-972) who was one of the first Japanese priests to spread Nenbutsu amongst people during the Heian Period


Kuya Shonin has been known as the founder of Odori Nenbutsu which is to recite Nenbutsu while dancing with musical rhysm but there is no proof that Kuya did odori Nenbutsu.   However he seemed to travel many places in Japan and left many legends and folklores such as building roads, digging wells for the welfare of the people.  Therefore with respect, he is called  “Ichino-Hijiri (The Saint or Holy Man in the market)” or “Amida Hijiri (The Saint of Amida).  


According to Amida Sutra, the Pure Land exists in the far west, as many as ten trillion Buddha-lands away.  From the viewpoint of common sense, it’s impossible to get to the far western Pure Land.   However, Kuya Shonin wrote this short verse to tell us the ways to reach there.  I may be wrong but I think this verse has double meanings.  


My first understanding of this verse is like a saying that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.  By practicing diligently or constant efforts of practicing will lead us to the Pure Land.  This is the understanding based on the word “Tsutome te” as “by diligent practice” or “by “O-tsutome.”   This encourages us to continue to practice hard because if we keep working for the goal, we could get closer to the goal no matter how far the goal may be.


On the other hand, another understanding of the “Tsutome te” is “to be immediately”  or “to work quickly” based on the meaning of “Tsuto” as early or quickly.  


According to Jodo Shu, this verse is understood as importance of Tariki or other power.   We understand Jiriki or self power is very difficult to continue.  However as soon as we establish faith in the essential vow of Amida buddha, Amida Buddha comes to us quickly so that we can attain birth in the Pure Land which seemed too far away from us.


This verse was left at the Seiganji Temple in Kyoto, which is now known as the Head Temple of the Seizan Fukakusa Branch of Jodo Shu.  This temple was originally Hossou-shu or Yuishiki-shu which is East Asian Yogacara School but the head priest of this temple who listed to the teaching of Honen Shonin became a disciple of Honen and converted this temple to Jodo Shu.






Dew Drops

Dew drops
Here, there and everywhere,
Yet together our spirits
Will meet on the Lotus Pedestal.

By Honen Shonin(1133-1212)
(Translated by Jonathan Watts & Rev. Yoshiharu Tomatsu)


This short poem was written by Honen Shonin in responding to the short message verse from his great supporter, Kujo Kanezane when Honen Shonin was exiled to the island of Shikoku in 1207.


Kujo Kanezane was a former regent and chief minister in Japan but lost his position due to the hegemony dispute with Emperor Gotoba. Then he became a disciple of Honen Shonin and was ordained as a priest in 1202, receiving his Dharma name Ensho.


Kujo Kanezane felt sorry for his master’s exile and regretted he couldn’t stop this separation. Then he wrote a short poem to Honen Shonin, “Your departure to Shikoku was a beginning of sad separation but by writing at least a letter to you, I’d like to make a bridge on which you can come back to Kyoto. 


ふりすてて ゆくはわかれの はしなれど ふみわたすべき【*踏みわたす・文渡す】ことを しそとおもふ(Furi sutete, Yuku wa wakare no Hashi nare do, Fumi watasu beki koto wo shiso to omou)


Upon receiving this short verse, Honen Shonin wrote this well-known short verse;

露の身は ここかしこにて 消えぬとも こころは同じ 花のうてなぞ(Tsuyu no mi wa, Koko kashiko ni te , Kiyuru tomo, Kokoro wa onaji, Hana no utena zo)


Dew drops
Here, there and everywhere,
Yet together our spirits
Will meet on the Lotus Pedestal.


Death is so unpredictable. It happens here and there, always just like dew drops disappear here and there. However, our reunion is possible through the birth in the Pure land at the Lotus Pedestal.


Within one month after this separation, Kujo Kanezane passed away at the age 59 in 1207 when Honen Shonin was 75yrs old.  How mutable is the life!


Needless to say, Kujo Kanezane played a significant role in the history of Jodo Shu. Thanks to Kujo Kanezane's request, Honen Shonin with his disciples was able to write/compile "Senchakushu" in 1198 when Honen Shonin was 66 years old.





Live Jodo Buddhist Sunday Service






We always wish and try to save spending time as much as possible by practicing efficient and effective way of life. However, spending time is inevitable and utmost important for maintaining health. It sounds ironic but for the purpose of longer life, we shouldn’t save time but definitely need to spend much time for exercising.


Yes, I knew it but I’m having a hard time to use time just for walking since I have many things I’d like to do just in a day.


Ok....I got an idea during yard work with our President yesterday.  I put aside the idea of speediness and convenience but had an intention to walk more while cleaning the yard.




I placed a trash box far in the distance and repeated walking back and forth by picking up cut lawn. This way I do both exercising and cleaning yard at the same time!!!


I was so satisfied with this kill-two-birds-with-one-stone solution but I was surely exhausted after working all day long.  






All for the Birds

I'm sharing a trivial but true short story by using three continuous photos I took at the Koloa Jodo Mission.


I'm pretty sure I understood what Mejiro said!!!


However I'm afraid this story is what's called "all for the birds."





Don't Worry, Be Happy

Bobby McFerrin's great song, "Don't Worry, Be Happy" with my best photos of rainbow on Kauai.


Interestingly, the essential teaching of Buddhism can be found in this song...."Don't worry, Be Happy."
Yes, happiness is possible here at this very moment....if we can keep away "worry" in the future and "regret" in the past.


However at the same time, "Please Worry, Be safe" may be true if you seek for safety rather than "happiness."
Feeling of worry makes us to avoid danger and feeling of regret makes us to prepare better. These feelings lead us to be improved!


So my conclusion for now at this time of Pandemic, "Don't worry, be happy, prepare and be safe!"

And of course, "Namu Amida Butsu" to all of you.





Hawaii Jodo Shu Missionary Day

Monument to commemorate centennial celebration at Jodo Mission of Hawaii, dedicated in October, 1994.  This was donated by Jodo Shu All Japan Young Ministers' Association.
Monument to commemorate centennial celebration at Jodo Mission of Hawaii, dedicated in October, 1994. This was donated by Jodo Shu All Japan Young Ministers' Association.

Today March 25th is the day when Reverend Taijo Matsuo who was 26yrs old from Nagano, arrived at Honolulu Harbor in 1894. He was one of the first two Jodo Shu ministers who started missionary in Hawaii in the 126 years of history of Hawaii Jodo Mission.


According to the Centennial History of Hawaii Jodo Shu, in November 1894, Rev. Matsuo moved to Kauai and visited Japanese workers at 9 plantation camps and had opportunities to teach Buddhist teachings and practice of Nenbutsu. Rev. Matsuo was planning to build a temple in Kapaa. However in July, 1898, Rev. Matsuo became severely ill due to malnutrition and overwork.


With the hopes of returning to Kapaa after his regaining, Rev. Matsuo left Honolulu harbor on August 3rd and arrived at Yokohama on August 19. It was three weeks after his coming back to Japan, he passed away on September 13, 1898 at age of 31.


If Rev. Matsuo were healthy, the 2nd Jodo Shu temple in Hawaii must have been built on Kauai.  But the history tells us it took another 12 years to have a Jodo Shu temple here on Kauai.


Today on this special day, with much gratitude and sympathy, I observe a memorial service for the past ministers and members who dedicated themselves to Jodo shu temples from Koloa Jodo Mission.                                                        Namu Amida Butsu

All names of Jodo Shu temples established in Hawaii are listed.  Also all names of ministers and their wives who served temples in Hawaii from 1894 to 1994 are engraved.


1. Hamakua Jodo Mission  (Hawaii) 1896

2. Laupahoehoe Jodo Mission (Hawaii)   1899 -1999  (closed)

3. Kurtistown Jodo Mission (Hawaii) 1902

4. Kohala Jodo Mission (Hawaii) 1902

5. Hakalau Jodo Mission (Hawaii)1904

6. Wainaku Jodo Mission (Hawaii) 1905- 2005 (closed)

7. Jodo Mission of Hawaii (Oahu) 1907

8. Hilo Meishoin (Hawaii)1908 

9. Hawi Jodo Mission (Hawaii) 1909

10. Koloa Jodo Mission (Kauai) 1910

11. Puunene Jodo Mission (Maui )1910

currently Kahului Jodo Mission

12. Kapaa Jodo Mission (Kauai) 1912

13. Haleiwa Jodo Mission (Oahu ) 1912

14. Lahaina Jodo Mission (Maui )1912

15. Wailuku Jodo Mission (Maui) 1914

16. Ewa Jodo Mission (Oahu) 1916 -1972 (closed)

Ookala Jodo Mission (Hawaii) 1920 -1941 (closed)

Here on this monument, there are 161 ministers names listed.  My assignment was 3 years after this Centennial Celebration and I think I'm the 163rd or 164th assigned minister in the history of Hawaii Jodo Shu.






First of all, I’d like to pray for those who have become victims of the coronavirus and recite Namu Amida Butsu.  Also, I am sorry for all those who had received severe impacts from the coronavirus pandemic.


As you know, National Emergency was declared by the US President and we have entered an unknown zone of the Pandemic.  French President Emmanuel Macron also declared the country to be “at war” and “the enemy is invisible but it’s surely there.  It requires our general mobilization.”   This global crisis is rapidly and widely spreading at each moment and Hawaii has now 26 positive cases across the state as of today.



However, this is the time we should be calm down and be strong with our faith in Amida Buddha.  It is known that our stress weakens our immune system and calm mind through the practice of Nenbutsu and meditation help a lot to strengthen us especially during the time of difficulties.   I know we can win this war with coronavirus.  But in order to end this crisis as soon as possible, we all need to work together by doing what we can do our part.  Doing our part is not a big deal but a simple action such as washing hands often, maintaining social distancing, avoiding shaking hands, touching eyes, nose, and mouth and so.  It is also important for us, especially the elderly, to stay home and not to go out unnecessary. 


After consulting with our members,  I’d like to let you know our decisions as follows;


1.     We suspend all activities at the temple effective immediately till April 30, 2020.  

          There will be no Sunday Service and no Calligraphy Class during the time.


2.     However please be assured that I will continue to officiate daily services and prayers without attendees and will share videos through my Youtube Channel.


3.    Also if you need immediate ministers’ assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me. I’ll officiate services by following the official guidelines issued by CDC ( and Hawaii Department of Health.


4.     For scheduling a regular memorial service, please make an appointment after this crisis is over.


5.     Also if you have already appointment in April,  please consider changing schedule.  If you still want to observe a memorial service as scheduled, please limit 10 or less and follow the guidelines.


6.     Also both bedside and funeral service will be available but you also need to limit number of attendance.



7.     We update the latest information on our website at



The pace of updating information on the virus is so breathtaking, we need to pay constant attention by checking the local news, official orders, CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) websites that provide updated information as it becomes available in addition to the updated guidelines.   Our top priority is your safety.   Let us all use our best judgment to protect ourselves.   


May we all be safe and secure as we work together overcoming the coronavirus.  May the light of Amida Buddha be with you.   Namu Amida Butsu



Bishop Kosen Ishikawa





True Funny Story

From time to time, everyone needs laughter in our daily lives. Do you have a funny story from which you can always laugh out loud?   If none, here is a funny story which I recall from time to time especially when I am having a hard time.


This is a story with me and our beloved minister Rev. W.   When we had a group tour to Zojoji Temple in 2012, I stayed with Rev. W.  Rev. W is my senior minister whom I respect and consult with for many occasions. So when we had conventions, we shared a room for several times in the past.  


So did in Tokyo.  As soon as I woke up, I soon found out Rev. W gone out probably for walking. So I tried to change my clothes.  However I found out my pants was missing.   Oh my goodness, that's my only pants.  Without pants, I cannot go out, of course.  I tried to look for my pants everywhere again and again. 


Then Rev. W came back to the room from his morning walking.  All of sudden, I noticed he was wearing my pants! 


I shouted, “Sensei! That’s mine!!!”

“Oh, is this yours?  No wonder it’s too big-no" said, Rev. W.


I had to LOL although I was seriously look for my pants. 


Please imagine...the minister desperately looking for his pants with his underwear.   I can LOL anytime whenever I recalled this incident!


Have a great day!





The best time for mowing

No matter how busy I may be, there is something I try not to do. That’s to write my sermon or message. It is my belief just reading out written message is not inspirational. I’d like to deliver interesting sermon through my own experiences.  But the biggest reason why I don’t write down my Dharma talk is to save time.  Writings takes time. All the more so with good writings.  I'm very busy doing many things just in a day. Instead of taking time to write, I'd like to use time for something else.


So whether it’s funeral or special service, I seldom write down for my Dharma message.  It's true sometimes I regret I couldn't deliver my intentions with no manuscript.  However, even I make mistakes, there is always I can learn from the mistakes.  At the same time, I get great motivation to deliver message better.  Of course, sometimes (hopefully often) I do a good job to deliver sermon.  Especially when I did a great job, people come to me to commend my message without any written memo.  Then sometimes they will be additionally surprised to see what I made for our guests after the service. I call it “super-service” which shall be my specialty. Yes, instead of spending time for writing, I’d rather be joyful to make refreshments of Sushi or Cake, and once in a while, more than that.


To tell you the truth, there is a secret about so-called “super service”.  Although I seldom spend my time for sitting down to write, but I do spend time to think about what I deliver and interesting stories through my self-reflection. It is true no good sermon cannot be delivered without spending time to think. My secret is, I spend time thinking about my message while I’m doing cooking, washing dishes, mowinig and even when I make Sushi! For me, writing is an art which requires so much time and concentration in addition to the knowledge and techniques.


On the other hand, just talking doesn’t need concentration and time.  Also I don’t need to think about spellings and grammar. Even if I make mistake grammar and omit some words, they can guess the meaning.  As for writing, I need to be careful about what I write, spellings and grammar.  However most important thing about sermon is not grammar nor elaborate expressions but a content of the message.  If the content is good, very simple words, even childish words could touch people. So all I need to do is to think about a core experience of the message while working.


This morning, I finally got time to do mowing and some yardwork. Instead of sitting down in the office to write sermon for Nirvana day service tomorrow, I happily chose to spend time for working. Then I got an idea of this writing about secret of delivering sermon without writing down. Because this was such a good content, I needed to stop working for a minute to take memo on this thought. I said I don’t spend time for writing but I often take memo whenever I got a good idea.


Another interesting idea is when is the best time for mowing? Yes, I got this question and answer while mowing this morning, just right now. The answer is right after light raining like shower. If rain is too hard, you’ll be wet and you cannot work. Then if it’s too hot, you’ll get sunburned. If it’s too windy, cut grass will fly all over the place. My answer for the best time for mowing is right after light raining, cut grass become perfectly stick together and they won’t fly away. Instead, they can be picked up so easily. But if it’s too much rain, grass become so heavy.

I always enjoy new discoveries whatever I do from my daily life. There are always wisdom found in our daily life. The other day, I had visitors of a couple from Minnesota. They found my website and called me to ask for the temple tour. I shared some interesting facts about Buddhism and they really enjoyed my explanation. When they are leaving, a gentleman told me every time he comes to the temple, the wiser he becomes. I strongly agreed and proudly mentioned this event to my wife. Then she immediately said, “NO, Sensei, you are not becoming wiser but just “wider” day by day! “What!?” I thought my wife was wiser than me. LOL.

For your information, we'll have a "Super Service" for Nirvana Day tomorrow at 10:30 am at Koloa Jodo Mission. All are welcome!







2020 Schedule

Aloha and Happy New Year!

First of all, I have to apologize for your inconvenience and much less service this year at Koloa Jodo Mission since I have to serve more temples as Bishop of Hawaii Council of Jodo Missions. 

Pease don't miss the 2020 major services here.  Everyone welcome!  We look forward to seeing you here!


As of March 25, 2020, our temple is temporarily closed until further notice, in accordance with the County of Kaua'i's "Stay-at-home" order.

Therefore all of our services and events in the future are suspended.  Thank you very much for your understanding and cooperation.  


For your information, we'll continue Live streaming Buddhist Service through YouTube.   Please check Kosen Ishikawa's YouTube Channel.

Also we can do a memorial service and funeral through Live streaming.

Please let me know.                                   Gassho, Kosen Ishikawa




2020 Koloa & Kapaa Jodo Mission Schedule

*Service at Kapaa Jodo starts at 10:00am

*Service at Koloa Jodo starts at 10:30 am



Sun., January 5       10:30 am     New Year Service and Gyoki at Koloa


Sun., January 12      *Service at Kapaa Jodo



Sun., February 2     10:30 am      Nirvana Day Service at Koloa Jodo


Sat., February 15      5:30 pm    General Membership Meeting at Koloa


                               6:00 pm       New Year's Party at Koloa Jodo


Sun. February 23      *Service at Kapaa Jodo

                                Guest Speaker: Rev. Myoko Takano, Jodo Mission


Sun., March 8           10:30 am     Higan Service at Koloa Jodo


Sun., March 15         *Service at Kapaa Jodo

                                Guest speaker: Rev. Koji Ezaki of Haleiwa Jodo



Sun., April 5             9:30 am       KBC Buddha Day Service (Tentative)


Sun., April 19            *Service at Kapaa Jodo



Sun., May 3             10:30 am       Mother's Day Service at Koloa Jodo



Sun., June 21          10:30 am      Bon Service at Koloa Jodo


Friday, June 26          7:30 pm      Bon Dance at Koloa Jodo


Sat., June 27             7:30 pm      Bon Dance at Koloa Jodo



Sun., July 26           *Service at Kapaa Jodo



Sun., August 8         *Kapaa Jodo Mission Toro Nagashi at Wailua River


Sun., August 30        *Service at Kapaa Jodo



Sun. September 6    10:30 am      Higan Service at Koloa Jodo


September 18-20                         Laypersons' Convention on Maui


Sun., September 30  *Service at Kapaa JOdo



October 19-26                              2020 HCJM Japan Trip



Sun., November 1    *Service at Kapaa Jodo


Sun., November 22  10:30 am      Ojuya Service at Koloa

                               *Virtual Service


Sun. December 6        9:30 am      KBC Bodhi Day Service (Tentative)

                                *Virtual Service

Sun., December 13   *Virtual Service


Sun., December 31      5:30 pm     New Year's Eve Service at Koloa






Flexibility and Rigidity


On October 9, 2019, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced that Dr. Akira Yoshino and two other scientists, John B. Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham were awarded the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. 


Their research that has “laid the foundation of a wireless, fossil fuel-free society” were highly evaluated.  Dr. Yoshino created the first safe, production-visible lithium-ion battery which became used widely in cellular phones and notebook computers.



I didn’t Dr. Yoshino at all until I encountered this news but as soon as I read some articles on his interviews, I became so interested in him and his accomplishments. 



His answer for the reasons of success was very impressive.  Dr. Yoshino said, “Researchers must be flexible.  At the same time, they have to be stubborn to persistently never give up.  It is difficult to balance two opposite elements such as flexibility and rigidity but both flexibility and attachment are so important.  If you are just stubborn, you won’t be able to go forward when you hit the wall.  I think flexible mind to believe “it will work out” will be also necessary for the success.”



“Another important thing is” he continued,” to foresee whether desired future will come or not.  To proceed research and to foresee the future must be done simultaneously.  In other words, if you believe “goal” is surely right there, you can accomplish a goal no matter how hard efforts  you make.”


Congratulations to Dr. Yoshino and all the prize winners!  It's always great to learn secrets of success from people who are really successful.  


Would you like to hear my success story?   Well, let me be successful first and till then, please continue to check my blog!






Teaching of Blooming together

Pitaya known as dragon fruit usually bloom its several flowers together at a time. Three flowers, six flowers and sometimes over 10 flowers bloom at a time. Instead of blooming individually one by one, they bloom as a group which gives us deeper impression.

As you know, fruit flowers need pollination in order to be a fruit. Of course, pollination could be done naturally by the wind and rain but most pollination are done by so-called pollinating agents such as insects and birds. And it is fragrance of the flower which invites insects to do pollination.

The fragrance of one pitaya flower is sweet but fragrance of more flowers is just amazing.  More flowers as a group possibly attract more insects and as a result many of them could turn into the dragon fruits. 

I'm truly impressed by the instinct of preserving species.  At the same time, I understood....this is like a teaching of teamwork.  Everyone is great individually but we can be greater if we work together as a group.






Manifestation of Peace, Various Perspectives

Happy 130th Anniversary to all the members and ministers of the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii!


In commemoration of this anniversary, Kauai Hongwanji Council will sponsor a seminar, titled "Manifestation of Peace, Various Perspectives" at West Kauai Hongwanji Hanapepe Temple on Sunday, October 6 from 1:00pm.  


Mahalo nui loa to Senseis(Rev. Hojo, Rev.Majima & Rev. Shaku Kaufumann) of Kauai Hongwanji Council for inviting me as a Panel Discussion Speaker.  It will be my greatest pleasure to share peaceful teaching of Jodoshu and my personal thoughts on peace.  

This will be a public seminar and registration starts at 12:30pm tomorrow on Sunday, October 6.  I hope to see you there!


*I've heard a moderator of the seminar will be Rev. Majima because Rev. Kaufumann's health condition.  I pray for his quick recovery and get-well.  





Oshima - Secret of "Big Island"


In Japan, there are islands which are called “Oshima.”  Here in Hawaii, “Oshima” island of Yamguchi Prefecture, so-called “Suo-Oshima” is the most popular island since many immigrants came from there.  But there are actually 56 more islands are called “Oshima” , too, according to my research.   It sounds so confusing therefore depending on the location of the island, “area name” is added to the island name “Oshima.”  Among them, Amami-Oshima of Kagoshima Prefecture, Izu-Oshima of Tokyo, and Suo-Oshima of Yamaguchi Prefecture are well-known.

Amami-Oshima of Kagoshima Prefecture
Amami-Oshima of Kagoshima Prefecture
Izu Oshima of Tokyo
Izu Oshima of Tokyo


 As you may know, “Oshima” literally means “Big Island.”  “O” is abbreviation of “Ookii (big)” and “Shima” means “island.”   The name “Oshima” indicates…this is a big island but what it really means, I found out, very interesting.  The one called “Oshima” is not simply big, but it is the biggest among small islands near by.  In order to make a distinction of the biggest island, “Oshima (Big Island)” is named.



Interestingly “Suo-Oshima” of Yamaguchi has a formal name which is “Yashiro-jima” and its nick name is “Big Island.”   I haven’t researched when and who named a nick name “Big Island” to the island of Hawaii but I’m getting to believe people from “Suo-Oshima” probably named Hawaii as Big Island since this is the biggest among islands.


Yashirojima Island, called "Oshima (Big Island.)
Yashirojima Island, called "Oshima (Big Island.)





2020 Bon Dance Schedule on Kauai

I regret to inform you of cancellation of our 2020 Bon Dance Season on Kauai because of the coronavirus pandemic.  Everybody please be safe and secure and we look forward to the next Bon Dance Season after this crisis is over.


Kauai Buddhist Council General Meeting was held today at Lihue Hongwanji Mission and 2020 Kauai Bon Dance Schedule was approved as follows;

June 12-13 Kapaa Hongwanji Mission

June 19-20 Kauai Soto Zen Temple

June 26-27 Koloa Jodo Mission

July 3-4  No Bon Dance

July 10-11 WKH Hanapepe Temple

July 17-18 Lihue Hongwanji Mission

July 24-25 Waimea Shingon Mission

July 31-August 1 Kapaa Jodo Mission

August 7-8 Waimea Higashi Hongwanji Mission



To our members and friends, please start planning to come to help our Bon Dance on June 26-27, 2020.  Thank you very much!





A rolling stone gathers no moss


A roman saying “A rolling stone gathers no moss” has been well-known over the past centuries.   It was used and quoted in many countries and was also translated into Japanese.  The meaning of this saying is very simple however depending on the countries, the meaning of this saying can be quite different. 



In Japan, for most Japanese, moss is a symbol of natural beauty especially found in the Japanese garden.  The dark green of the moss in the garden gives us strong impression of the depth of the beauty and Japanese garden without moss cannot be good.  And because moss can be increasing a lot, it also represents fortune. Therefore, a rolling stone which brings no moss is regarded as something bad.  An example of rolling stone can be “to change jobs” and moving.   If you are changing jobs a lot or moving places in Japan, you will be told “a rolling stone gathers no moss” which means you won’t get fortune.  So traditionally Japanese people don’t move places from here to there.  Also they try not to change jobs. 



On the other hand, here in the united states, “moss” is usually understood as “unnecessary thing” or “something dirty.”  Therefore a rolling stone which brings no moss is actually very good.  Especially because USA consists of so many immigrants from so many foreign countries and also development of the West was made by moving, “moving” is considered to be great.  Also changing jobs in the US, is quite common to seek for the better life. 



Is moving good or bad?  I’ve been thinking this question because I’ve been here on Kauai for 20 years while many other Buddhist ministers moved to serve other temples in the past 20 years. 



Good thing about staying here for a long time is definitely a bond with our members, friends and community.   I feel Kauai is my hometown and members are Ohana or family.  At the same time, I believe I’ve gotten their trust.  In a sense, to stay one place for a longer time makes it possible to deepen the relationship.   Also no-moving saves money and energy.   Staying in one place is very stable but there are of course bad things about no-moving for a long time.   At the same time, Just like American understanding of “A rolling stone gathers no moss”  there are also good things about moving.  That’s why other Buddhist schools move ministers from time to time.   Moving costs much more but ministers get more stimulations and become motivated by moving.  And members are maybe also happier to have a different minister every certain years.  



I haven’t had an answer yet whether I should continue my life here or move but at least I decided to challenge to seek for a change when I was nominated to be next Bishop of Hawaii Council of Jodo Missions.  Fortunately, officers and members of Jodo Mission are very supportive and flexible.   Their kind words made me accept a nomination and will serve as a Bishop of Hawaii Council of Jodo Missions for the next two years.   I will be going back and forth to Oahu for the time being.



Honestly speaking, I wished Rev. Koji Ezaki to continue to be Bishop since he has done excellent jobs for Hawaii Jodo shu including 125th Anniversary Celebration after Bishop Narashiba’s passing.   This was the most sad and difficult time in the history of Hawaii Jodo Shu but Rev. Ezaki fulfilled unfinished projects which Bishop Narashiba wanted to do.   Since my first arrival at Jodo Mission in 1997, Rev. Ezaki has been such a hard working minister and I’ve learned a lot from him.  I asked him to be Bishop again and again but his thinking was rigid because of Mrs. Ezaki’s health.  



As I take new position, I’d like to express my deepest appreciation to all the past Bishops, ministers and members for everything they have done for Jodo Shu.  Without them all, I wouldn’t be what I am today.  



Last but not least, I have a favor to ask you.   Please continue to call me “Sensei” or “Kosen” or whatever you currently call me.   Please try not to call me “Bishop.”   I’m a newly elected Bishop but “Bishop Ishikawa” sounds very strange!    Anyway, your continued support will be greatly appreciated.  






2019 Bon Dance at Koloa Jodo


I'm sorry I've been so lazy about updating my blog but I've just kept working and working till today and realized it's already Bon Dance tomorrow on Friday, June 7!  On behalf of Koloa Jodo Mission, I'd like to express my sincerest Aloha and Mahalo to you!


On Friday, June 7 at 7:00pm, we'll have a Shakuhachi master, Rev. Shikuu Yano of Aichi Prefrecture, Japan and four Koto players to perform some songs before the opening prayer.  Then they will perform some songs with a surprise dance during the intermission.


On Saturday, June 8 around 8:45pm, we'll have Taiko Kauai during our intermission.  Although we don't have enough parking but we do appreciate your participation in our festival.


The following will be the schedule.

Friday, June 7

6:00 pm   Food booth opens

7:00 pm   performance by Koto playe, Satsuki Urasawa and with her students.

8:45 pm    

9:00 pm    Intermission 

10:30 pm  Dance ends


Saturday, June 8

6:00 pm   Food booth opens

7:30 pm   Opening prayer

8:45 pm    

9:00 pm    Intermission / Taiko Kauai

10:30 pm  Dance ends


Once again, thank you very much for your support and hope to see you here at Koloa Jodo Mission.



Please do not hesitate to follow my facebook or Twitter since I often update FB.





Owl - Fukurou

Yesterday, I saw an unusual bird flying elegantly near the Poipu Beach Park.  As I watched it carefully, I found out it was a Barn Owl which looked like human face.  The reason why it was named as "Barn owl" is said to be because this owl could make a nest in the barn where people live near by. 


On the other hand, Japanese call it "Men-fukurou" which literally means "Mask Owl."  "Men" or "O-Men" in Japanese means "Mask" and "Fukurou" means "Owl."  I thought Japanese naming sounded better description of this owl but there are actually so many other common names listed in the Wikipedia and all names seem to have good descriptions and good reason.


Common names for Barn Owl are silent flight, white owl, silver owl, demon owl, ghost owl, death owl, night owl, rat owl, church owl, cave owl, stone owl, monkey-faced owl, hissing owl, hobgoblin owl, hobby owl, dobby owl, white-breasted owl, golden owl, scratch owl, straw owl, barnyard owl, and delicate owl.  


According to the book titled "A Photographic Guide to the Birds of Hawai'i,"  Barn Owls were introduced in the late 1950s in the efforts to control rats in the plantation fields.  Just like a word "night owl", they are usually night predator and very active at night but occasionally it can be seen hunting during daylight hours.   They are good at catching rodents but they also prey on small birds.  I don't know if this owl comes to the same place again, but I will probably go there again to photograph this barn owl with my bigger lens.


Interestingly, owl in general is said to be wise creature of the forest and it represents "wisdom" in western countries while some countries including Japan regarded owl as bad omen.  However, nowadays owl is getting to be known as good luck in Japan because a Japanese word "Fukurou(owl)" can be read as "Fu (Never)Kurou(Hardship)."   Also it can be understood as "Fuku(happy)rou(man)."  Therefore some items related to "owl" such as key folder or good luck charm, can be found in many products in Japan.


In Hawaii, Hawaiian native owl called "Pueo" has been regarded as a sacred spiritual bird which is one of the various physical forms assumed by 'aumakua (ancestor spirits) in its culture.  I've seen Pueo one time during Bon Dance at West Kauai Hongwanji Hanapepe Temple.  Is it just happening?   Pueo showed up there during Bon Dance where many spirits of ancestors get together!





2019 Kauai Bon Dance Schedule

Kauai Buddhist Council General Meeting was recently held at Lihue Hongwanji Mission and 2019 Bon Dance Schedule on Kauai was updated and set.  Those who have seen the outdated information, please be aware of this important change.  West Kauai Hongwanji Mission Waimea Temple announced that they wouldn't host a Bon Dance this year and Waimea Higashi took their dates.  As of February 2nd 2019, the following schedule is correct updated schedule.  


Kauai Buddhist Council 

2019 Bon Dance Schedule 


May 31-June 1             Kauai Soto Zen          


June 7-8                     Koloa Jodo                  


June 14-15                 WKH Hanapepe          


June 21-22                 Lihue Hongwanji


June 28-29                 Waimea Shingon


July 5-6                      No Bon Dance


July 12-13                  Kapaa Jodo


July 19-20                  Waimea Higashi


July 26-27                  Kapaa Hongwanji



Please allow us to reschedule our Toro Nagashi as Bon Dance Schedule was changed.  







1982 Documentary Film

Lately I happened to turn on the TV and saw familiar people.  The program was already started but soon I recognized aunty Myra who looked so young.  Without knowing the title, immediately I understood the value of the film and started recording on DVR. 


To my surprise, it was a 1982 documentary film on the late Mrs. Asao Fukumoto of Koloa who had 11 children and over 100 family members.  Did you watch it?  If not, you might thank me for having this opportunity to watch it here.....This film is so precious not only for the family members but also for the people who know Koloa and plantation life.


I was so amazed by the film because there were many familiar people and places of Kauai back in 1982!  I was also touched by the life of Mrs. Fukumoto who overcame many hardships and difficulties with her many children who also sacrificed so much to support the family.  But Mrs. Fukumoto and children were pleasant, humorous and positive in life.  


It was truly an honor and pleasure for me to get to know Mrs. Fukumoto and family through my job at Koloa Jodo Mission.  She attended various temples but seemed to choose to be a member of Jodo Mission which was also her parents' temple.  When I was assigned to Koloa Jodo Mission in 1999, she was already 99 years old and retired from all temple activities but I remember I've visited to pray her family Butsudan at home.  Mrs. Fukumoto passed away in 2002 when she was 101 years old.  The funeral service was private but I was so surprised to see many family members which was much larger than our temple membership. 


Well, they say seeing is will be amazed by this documentary film of the big family.





2019 Schedule


2019 Jodo Mission Schedule on Kauai




January 1             Kapaa    10:30 am             New Year’s Day Service


January 6             Koloa     10:30 am             New Year Service at Koloa


January 13           Kapaa    10:00 am             Gyoki Service


                                                1:00 pm            Bon Dance committee Mtg

                                                                            at Kauai Soto Zen Temple


January 20           Koloa     10:30 am             Calligraphy Class at Koloa


January 21           Lihue     7:00 pm               KBC General Meeting (Monday)


January 26           Kapaa    6:30 pm               Shinenkai – New Year’s Party 


January 27           Koloa     10:30 am             Gyoki Service at Koloa






February 3           Kapaa   10:00 am               Nirvana Day Service at Kapaa


February 9           Koloa     5:15 pm               General Membership Meeting


      6:30 pm               Shinenkai – New Year’s Party


February 10        Koloa                                     No Service/ Cleanup


February 17        Koloa     10:30 am              Nirvana Day Service at Koloa                                                                                 (No Refreshments)


                                                                            Fukuoka Kenjinkai


February 24        Koloa     10:30 am               Calligraphy Class at Koloa






March 3                                                              TBD


March 10             Kapaa    10:00 am              Higan Service at Kapaa


March 17             Koloa     10:30 am              Higan Service at Koloa


March 24                                                            TBD


March 31             Kolloa    10:30 am              Calligraphy Class at Koloa






April 7                   Lihue     9:30 am                KBC Buddha Day Service

                                                                            at Lihue Hongwanji Mission


April 14                 Kapaa    10:00 am             Kapaa Jodo Hanamatsuri

                                                                            at Kapaa Jodo Mission


April 21                 Koloa     10:30 am             Sunday Service at Koloa Jodo


April 28                 Koloa     10:30 am             Calligraphy Class






May 5                                                                 TBD


May 12                 Koloa     10:30 am             Mother’s Day Service


May 19                 Koloa     10:30 am             Calligraphy Class at Koloa


May 26                 Koloa                                   Preparation for Bon Dance






June 2                   Koloa     10:30 am               Bon Service


June 7 & 8            Koloa                                     Bon Dance


June 9                   Koloa                                     Clean-up after Bon Dance


June 16                                                                TBD


June 23                 Kapaa                                    Preparation for Bon


June 29                 Kapaa    8:00 am                 Preparation for Bon 


June 30                                                                TBD






July 6(Sat.)           Kapaa    8:00 am                Preparation for Bon

                                                                            (O-Toba/Yagura Set-Up)


July 7                     Kapaa    10:00 am              Bon Service at Kapaa


July 12 & 13         Kapaa                                   Bon Dance


July 14                   Kapaa    8:30 am                Clean-up


July 20                                                                 Bon Graveyard Services

                                              1:00 pm                Anahola Cemetery

                                              1:45 pm                Kapaa-Kealia

                                              2:30 pm                Wailua 

                                              3:15 pm                Kauai Memorial

                                              4:00 pm                Lihue 


July 21                   Wailua  7:30 pm                Kapaa Jodo Toro Nagashi 


July 28              Koloa     10:30 am              Sunday Service at Koloa Jodo

                         Toro Nagashi Ceremony at Kukuiula at 7:30pm.




August 4           Koloa  10:30 am              Sunday Service at Koloa Jodo


August 11 & 18                                                  No Service


August 25            Kapaa 10:00 am                  Jizo Bon at Kapaa Jodo






September 1                                                      TBD


September 8      Koloa     10:30 am                Higan Service    


September 15    Kapaa    10:00 am                Higan Service


September 22                                                    HCJM Kyoku Conference


September 29    Koloa     10:30 am                Calligraphy Class






October 6                                                            TBD


October 13                                                          TBD


October 20          Koloa     10:00 am               Sunday Service at Koloa


October 27          Koloa     10:30 am               Calligraphy at Koloa




November 3                                                        TBD


November 10     Kapaa    10:00 am                  Ojuya Service at Kapaa


November 17     Koloa     10:30 am                  Ojuya Service at Koloa


November 24     Koloa     10:30 am                  Calligraphy Class at Koloa


November 30     Kapaa    8:00 am                    General Clean-up/Omigaki






December 1        Kapaa    10:00 am                  Kapaa Bodhi Day Service 


December 8        Kapaa    9:30 am                    KBC Bodhi Day Service



December 15     Koloa      Sunday Service at Koloa

Sorry No Sunday Service at Koloa


December 22                                                       TBD


December 29     Koloa     10:30 am                   Calligraphy Class at Koloa


December 31     Koloa     5:30 pm                     New Year’s Eve Service


                              Kapaa    11:00 pm                  New year’s Eve Service






2019 Kabuki in Hawaii

In commemoration of 150th year of the first Japanese group immigrants to Hawaii, "Kabuki in Hawaii" will be held at the Kennedy Theatre at the University of Hawaii at Manoa from March 2 to March 6, 2019.


March 2 from 6:30 pm

March 3 from 2:00 pm & from 6:30 pm

March 4 from 6:30 pm

March 5 from 6:30 pm

March 6 from 11:00 am

Jodo-shu Foreign Ministry Association is supporting this historic event and offered 80 free tickets to the Jodo mission members who are paying dues to the any Jodo Mission temple in Hawaii.  If you are a member of Koloa Jodo Mission and interested in this Kabuki, please let me know as soon as possible.  The tickets will be provided on the first-come, first served basis.  





Rainbow (1)


“If you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain. “


- Dolly Parton


State of Hawaii is sometimes called “Rainbow State” and rainbow can be seen quite often anywhere in Hawaii.  Especially when it is now rainy season, rainbow appears almost everyday here and there.  Interestingly, no matter how many times I’ve seen rainbow, it always impresses and makes me try to photograph the rainbow. I think many people feel the same way. Rainbow has a special power to attract people maybe because beauty of the rainbow is so fragile and momentary.  


I have taken many photos of rainbow for many years and I found two important facts about the rainbow from my experiences.


One fact is that “you will surely get wet when you’ve seen a clear rainbow. The clearer it becomes, the harder rain will hit you.” Therefore you cannot take a good photo of the rainbow without getting wet.


I’ve been to “Ke Ahu a Laka” which is one of the most sacred Hawaiian Heiau temples on Kauai with Kumu Leina’ala and her students including many dancers from Japan. The weather was good in the beginning when we got there, but as Kumu started chanting, it started raining. It was more like sprinkling but we were very lucky to see the rainbow over the Na Pali coast in the western sky.


Then as soon as I noticed the color of rainbow got clearer and darker, sprinkle rain changed into heavy rain to make everybody be wet to the skin. However Kumu Leina'ala never stopped her powerful chanting and dancers continued inspirational dancing. The sacred site, beautiful hula, amazing chanting and rainbow got together as one and I felt this was a miracle moment that cannot be happened again….


I completely forgot worrying about my camera getting drenched and I just kept taking photos of this miracle moments. I had never gotten my camera so wet in my life but it was definitely worth doing it. After checking what I got, I was truly relieved to know my camera was ok. Rather it did a great job in the heavy rain.


I can recall what Kumu Leina’ala told us before going to the heiau. They were forming a circle and Oli or ancient poem for entering the sacred site was led by Kumu. Then she told us to get ready for our senses open. Look at carefully what’s in front of us, listen to the sound of wind, to smell the nature….Everything you’ll see, hear or feel is a gift from Laka. In fact, this became so meaningful because of the sudden appearance of rainbow and incredible sunshine after the rainbow. This happened in June 2014 and this was the best rainbow I've ever encountered.


Another fact on rainbow is very interesting but I'm not so ready to complete writing it.   Maybe  I will continue to write it after Christmas.   Everyone, please be safe and Merry Christmas!





Buddhist Practice Everyday

The guy who has used our temple ground as his toilet was finally caught.  It took us two days to catch him but I have picked up his huge poops for at least 7 days!!!  The reason why our temple gate was closed lately was because we tried to catch the guy. 


At first, I had no idea why so many poops were here on the ground.  Every morning and evening, I saw big poops which were so stink.   Then on Wednesday, unbelievably I saw the guy who was about to poop just in front of me! 

I almost forgot I was a priest.   “Hey you!” I didn’t shout it, but I said in my heart loudly.   I’m sorry I had to admit I became angry.   At the same time, I was glad to see his face.  It was not a man but a dog!  My anger went to a dog who left another brand-new poop.

But of course, a dog was innocent.  I was actually upset more to the unknown owner of the dog who were not with the dog.   Slowly I walked to the dog, but he scared my approaching.  Maybe he knew I was upset.  He ran away to the next door and I chased him ….then I lost sight of him.


I went back to the temple and closed the gate….so that a dog cannot get in anymore.  No more poops on the ground!  However just in one hour or less, he came back to the temple again and rested under the Plumeria tree.  Why did he come back?  I didn’t realized it but it looked like he had lived here!    Soon I noticed there was a big puka or hole on the fence and so I filled it with some palm leaves on the fence.  Then I texted our President uncle Kuni to ask contacting human society to get it.  

My original intention to close the gate was to prevent the guy to come in but now quite opposite.   I hoped gates would prevent him to run away from here….I waited human society to come immediately to catch him but they didn't come at all.   I didn’t want to waste time just for waiting so I started gardening in order to multiple plants such as water lilies and ground orchids….Anyway, they finally came in the evening to set a trap to catch a dog. 

Although I was able to work gardening while waiting human society but my mind was so occupied with a dog if he might escape by the time they arrive here.

Then I realized this was not good.   I should be always a master of myself but after seeing a dog, my master of mind is not myself but a dog.   I have been so attached to the dog!  I didn’t like picking up dog’s poop but I didn’t like more such an attachment.   I actually needed to forget it and let it go….


Picking up a poop takes only a few second.  It’s just stink maybe for just seconds, not more than 10 seconds.   But preoccupied thoughts or attachment could take much more time.  I can be easily a slave of the attachment.   I took a very easy solution to let it go by just going to the ocean….

Naturally I became calm and peaceful.  I didn’t upset even though I found poop on the next morning.  I didn’t mind it because my attachment of the stink poop was now gone.  A trap set by human society didn’t work yesterday but worked today.  I feel more sorry for the dog who may be abandoned by the owner.

May all living beings be always happy and kind....

I realized an importance of Buddhist practice of loving-kindness each moment and each day.   Buddhist practice is never ending.  Maybe that's why life cannot be bored....but I renewed my vow to practice Buddhist practice of Mettā bhāvanā or Meditation of loving kindness every day every moment...especially today is a memorable day of "Pearl Harbor."   I'd like to recite Metta Sutra...


Mettā bhāvanā or Meditation of loving kindness

Let myself be always happy and kind.

Let myself be free from disease and mental worries.

Let myself be always successful in righteous and reasonable endeavors.

Let the wisdom of light shine upon myself.

Let myself be always be always happy and kind. (3 times.)


Let my intimates be always happy and kind.

Let my intimates be free from disease and mental worries.

Let my intimates be always successful in righteous and reasonable endeavors.

Let the wisdom of light shine upon my intimates.

Let my intimates be always happy and kind. ( 3 times)


Let all living beings be always happy and kind.

Let all living beings be from disease and mental worries.

Let all living beings be always successful in righteous and reasonbale endeavors.

Let the wisdom of light shine upon all living beings.

Let all living beings be always happy and kind. (3 times.)


Let all living beings irritable to me be always happy and kind.

Let all living beings irritable to me be free from disease and mental worries.

Let all living beings irritable to me be always successful in righteous and reasonable endeavors.

let the wisdom of light shine upon all living beings irritable to me.

Let all living beings irritable to me be always happy and kind. (3 times.)


Let all living beings not happy with me be always happy and kind.

Let all living beings not happy with me be free from disease and mental worries.

Let all living beings not happy with me be always successful in righteous and reasonable endeavors.

Let the wisdom of light shine upon all living beings not happy with me.

Let all living beings not happy with me be always happy and kind. (3 times.)


Let all living beings be always happy and kind.

Let all living beings be always happy and kind.

Let all living beings be always happy and kind.





Whale Season

Whale season has come around here!  Since I saw eyewitness news of humpback whales from Captain Andy's in early October, I’ve been looking forward to the opportunities to go out to the shore for photography.  And finally came a chance!  Yes, a group of whales were there at Makahuena Point.


For me, winter is very exciting season to be able to watch whales but at the same time it’s very annoying season because I’m so crazy spending much time for whales out of my busy schedule.   

As you may know, whales are not always swimming on the surface of the ocean but only once in a while come up to the surface to breathe.  Therefore a chance to photograph whales are not often and actually rare especially in the very beginning of the season.  Therefore lots of time and patience are needed in order to take photos of whales and I guess a kind of “love” is also needed to do so.    

In order to express my love for whales, I made a short poem which is a parody of famous waka poem by Ariwara No Narihira.


If, in this world of ours,

All the humpback whales

Never existed,

My heart in the winter,

Must be calm and peaceful….


Actually, original poem is not about whales but Sakura or Cherry blossom which has represented beauty of Japan.  An original poem in Japanese is written as;





If, in this world                                 (Yono Naka ni)

All the Cherry blossom                    (Taete Sakura no )

Did not existed                                 (Nakariseba)

My heart in the spring                     (Haru no Kokoro wa)    

Must be clam and peaceful            (Nodokekaramashi)


The author is Ariwara no Narihira (825-880) who was a Japanese courtier and outstanding poet in Heian Period.  According to the Tales of Ise, Ariwara no Narihira left this well-known waka poem when he saw beautiful Sakura at Nagisa Palace (currently, Hirakata City in Osaka).  It’s about his unusual love toward Sakura. 

Needless to say, spring is supposed to be a peaceful season.  It’s an ending of winter and climate is very comfortable to stay.  It’s not too cold and not too hot.  And it’s a great season of cherry blossom which attracts many people for many days.  People get excited and long for Sakura to bloom at the same time they worry about weather if rain might ruin the blossom.   Then after full blooming, people feel sad about scattering of the flowers. 

Ariwara no Narihira realized  Sakura could make people happy at the same time Sakura could cause people to be sad or worry, stating that people cannot be calm because of Sakura.  

It is true if there were no Sakura in this world, we might find peace in spring and if there were no Kujira (Whales) I might find peace in winter.  But without Sakura, we might be boring.  Without Kujira (Whales), I might be boring…..What is important is non-attachment and a good balanced life far from the attachment. 

For this season, I want to spend time wisely for whales….not too close, not too far….and yet I seek for the better photograph.

Is it possible?

Well, please continue to check my blog.  

My Past Articles about Humpback Whales:

Humpback Whale

Never Give UP

What is photography?

A group of spinner dolphins passed Makahuena point around 5:20 p.m.  Dolphins are often seen from the shore expecially around Sunrise time.
A group of spinner dolphins passed Makahuena point around 5:20 p.m. Dolphins are often seen from the shore expecially around Sunrise time.
They never showed me breaching but glad to see their blowings since I saw them last time in March this year.
They never showed me breaching but glad to see their blowings since I saw them last time in March this year.





2018 WFB Conference in Japan (2)_The Marroad International Hotel Narita

The biggest hotel in Narita which holds 800 rooms.
The biggest hotel in Narita which holds 800 rooms.
From the top floor restaurant (13F) to view Narita International Airport.
From the top floor restaurant (13F) to view Narita International Airport.
The banquet room "Fuji"
The banquet room "Fuji"


The 29th general conference of WFB was mainly held at the Marroad International Hotel Narita near Narita Airport.  Although I’ve been to Narita Airport so many times, this was my very first time to stay in Narita.  For me, Narita has been always a passing point to go abroad or to go home in Niigata since my first travel abroad in 1992.  I never did sightseeing around the Airport and I never walked around Narita City.   So this conference gave me a good opportunity to stop to see Narita.


The hotel was a mammoth hotel which holds 800 rooms with huge banquet rooms.  It’s so close to the Narita airport and from its top floor (13F) restaurant, a panoramic view of the airport was visible clearly and impressive especially at night.   Although there was nothing but airport nearby, hotel has a convenience store and restaurants.  Therefore I didn’t need to go out from the hotel.


The word “Marroad" which is a name of this hotel sounded like an English word but later found out “Marroad” was an old Japanese word to mean “visitor” or “guest.”   The Kanji for Marroad is written as “客人“ and "Marroad" indicates to give a person to hospitality.   After hearing the meaning of Marroad from the hotel staff, I felt very ashamed because I recalled I learned its meaning a long time ago.  No wonder the word was so familiar.


Registration fee for the conference was unbelievably inexpensive….It was about $300 which included room charge for 4 nights , meals three times a day for 4 days, transportation between Narita and Yokohama, and convention souvenirs with some publications.  It was way much cheaper than any other conventions I’ve ever attended in Hawaii. But later I knew that Japan Buddhist Federation paid a lot to reduce the necessary cost for the delegates from the world and registration fee for observers was actually over $1,000 per person.


From airport, free shuttle bus goes back and forth to hotel at least twice per hour and while waiting for the bus at the airport, I met a group of four from Sri Lanka who came to ask me if I was going to attend a WFB conference.  They were very friendly and talkative.   Because our former Bishop Rev. Wajira Wansa of Big Island is from Sri Lanka, they were so familiar…and soon we became friends.   Generally speaking, names except Japanese names are very difficult to remember but their names sounded like Japanese names and soon I memorized their names.


As soon as I arrived at the hotel, I saw many staffs were working near reception desks.   Obviously there were two tables and two groups; one group is JTB which supports and helps to check in and they also provide various useful information for the participants to stay in Japan.   Another table was for the group of volunteers to help this entire conference.  They were all ministers from different Buddhist sects.   Among them, I saw Rev. Yuken Kikuchi who used to work for the Jodoshu International Affair and she now serves International Affair of the Japan Buddhist Federation.  She introduced me some of her co-workers and led me to check in the room.

I actually didn’t mind sharing a room with another Buddhist monk but because my family always complain I snore so loudly and terribly in addition to talking in my sleep, I requested a single room which cost $80 more.  My application was kind of last minutes and I wasn’t sure if I could get a single room or not.  But when I opened the door, I was so glad to see one bed which was wide enough for a big man to sleep.   As compared to the standard business hotel, the room was pretty spacious and comfortable.  To my surprise, the room number was “457” which was exactly same number of our mail box of Koloa Jodo Mission. 

The door of conference was finally opened......   ( To be continued)

The top floor restaurant
The top floor restaurant
Lobby area.
Lobby area.
Convenience store in this hotel was like oasis in the desert....
Convenience store in this hotel was like oasis in the desert....
Great to have Laudry rooms which open 24hours /7 days a week...Detergent was automatically poured into the washing machine.
Great to have Laudry rooms which open 24hours /7 days a week...Detergent was automatically poured into the washing machine.
Free shuttle bus going to Marroad International Hotel stops at the Bus Stop Number 27.
Free shuttle bus going to Marroad International Hotel stops at the Bus Stop Number 27.





2018 WFB Conference in Japan (1)

It was truly an honor and blessing that I was able to participate in the 29th General Conference of the World Fellowship of Buddhists (WFB) in Japan from November 6th to November 9th.  In the history of WFB, this was the 4th time for Japan to host the general conference and theme was "Compassion in action."


The conference was the biggest meeting I've ever attended and over 1,000 people got together for the prayer ceremony for World Peace at Sojiji Temple which is one of the two head temples of Soto Zen School.  Officers from WFB, Chief priests and VIPs from 59 major Buddhist schools in Japan, the most Reverends, Venerables, Professors from nearly 200 centers in 41 countries, politicians, members of the National Diet and some business representatives attended the ceremony.


The ceremony was the most interesting and impressive service I've never seen before and I regretted I didn't bring a camera and a tripod with me.  But I did my best to take photos and a few short videos with my new phone and hope to share them with you in the near future.

This is an official commemorative photo of the 29th General Conference of the World Fellowship of Buddhists, the World Fellowship of Buddhists Youth, and the World Buddhist University.  Can you find me?(LOL)  Once again, I'm very lucky I was there in the picture but there were tremendously many people working behind the scenes. 

This is a photo when a group photo was about to be taken.  As you see, many priests were not included in the group photo.  The staffs wearing yellow jackets are the ones who can speak English and the staffs in white jackets are volunteers from the Japan Buddhist Federation who supported this entire conference in Japan.  Some more people, maybe a few more hundreds, were working at different sites to welcome us. 


Kudos goes to all volunteers and priests who hosted the conference.   Many of them may not be appeared in the photos but I'm very fortunate to know they were unsung heroes of the conference.


Last but not least, I'd like to thank our Bishop Rev. Koji Jeff Ezaki who gave me a chance to attend this conference.  Also I cannot thank you Rev. Shodo Kobayashi and Rev. Yoshiharu Tomatsu who financially supported my participation.



My past article about Sojiji Temple

Sojiji Temple by Wikipedia






A question makes a difference

Yesterday around noon time, TSA security gate at the Lihue Airport was full of people waiting to check in the boarding zoon.  I was not in a hurry but I assumed it would take more than 15 minutes to go through the gate.   


In the meantime, a TSA worker came to us to reduce a long line.  She addressed us that another security gate was available for the Alaska Airlines customers.  She told us, "If you fly with Alaska, you can go to another gate.  There is no line."  A few people moved but majority of the line didn't move.  I thought it might be faster to use another gate even though I had to walk more but I wasn't sure if Hawaiian customers are OK to use.  So I stayed in a line without asking.


A little by little, people moved toward the security checkpoint and my turn seemed to be coming soon. 25 minutes had already passed.  Then I saw a TSA worker came to say again "Another gate is available for Alaska and United passengers."   This time more people moved to the other gate and then I saw a young couple made a question to her.  He asked "Is another gate for only Alaska and United?  Hawaiian passengers can use?"  I thought this was a great question because this was what I wanted to know.   Surprisingly, she said "YES" and continued, "Any airlines can go but you have to walk to the far end of the terminal."  I saw a young couple moved as soon as they got an answer. 


Soon after, finally my turn came and I was able to catch a plane.  To my surprise, a young couple who asked if they could use another gate, got on board right after my boarding.  This means another gate was much more faster.


On the way to HNL, I was thinking about this event. ....If I asked a TSA worker if I could use another gate, most probably I wouldn't need to wait for 30 minutes even though I would walk more...but probably not more than 5 minutes because Lihue airport is not big.   And it seemed obvious that more and more people would try another gate if a TSA worker told us "any passenger" can use another gate.  I fully realized importance of the question since information is always limited but it can be unlimited if we make more questions!


Shakespeare left a great line in his play Hamlet,  "To be or not to be:that is the question" but I realized at this case for me "To ask or not to ask" was a question.   The man who didn't ask...waited 30 minutes and the man who asked...didn't need to wait!   






Kawaikini is the highest peak of Mount Waialeale which is known as the wettest spot on Earth.  As you know, it is located almost in the center of the Island and it is often covered by clouds.  Therefore it is said it's difficult to view this summit throughout the year.  

However it is often visible from Koloa in the early morning and after 9:00 am, more and more clouds rapidly appear to make this summit invisible. 


Every morning, without fail, before going to the temple, I look at this mountain to check today's weather.  When it's not raining, the summit can be clearly seen way before sunrise.  And just like the meaning of Kawaikini (the multitudinous water),  once in a while after the heavy rain, the mountain gets several rainfalls which disappear so soon in an hour.   Without knowing, this mountain has been a part of my Kauai life and I always feel great if I see no clouds on this mountain.

By the way, I recently found out the photo of Kawaikini at Wikipedia was not Kawaikini, but Kahili Mountain.  Elevation of Kawaikini is 5,243 feet (1,598 m)  while Kahili mountain is about 3,000 feet (914m).  What a big difference and mistake!   However I think this mistake is pretty understandable because....

from Koloa, Kahili Mountain looks higher than Kawaikini! Once again, Kahili in elevation is about 3,000 feet while Kawaikini is the highest peak of the island which is 5,243 feet (1,598 m) .  However because of the laws of perspective, the mountain in far distance looks smaller and the mountain closer to us looks much bigger.  I don't want to embarrass the person who contributed the photo to Wikipedia but I think this is a wonderful mistake that make us realize that..........truth can be easily misunderstood if we are too close!  At the same time, this is a wonderful example that you cannot always trust Wikipedia 100%!!!   






Calligraphy Brush

A Japanese term “Sanpitsu(三筆)” which literally means “three brushes” refers to the three greatest calligraphers in the Heian Period (794-1185) in Japan.   They are;



1.       Emperor Saga ( 786-842)


2.       Tachibana no Hayanari (782-842)


3.       Kukai / Kobo Daishi (774-835).


Among them, Kukai is probably the most popular calligrapher and his posthouse priest title “Kobo Daishi” is also well-known and appeared in Japanese sayings regarding calligraphy.


One of them is “Kobo Fude wo Erabazu.”  This saying is about proficiency of the calligraphy.  It literally means “Master Kobo doesn’t need to choose a brush.”  Because he was so proficient in calligraphy, he was believed to do a great job of calligraphy with any brush.  Therefore, this saying is usually used as a meaning of English saying ““cunning mason works with any stone.” 


However this saying is not just making boast of Master Kobo’s proficiency.  Nor it does not encourage us not to choose a brush or not to choose tools or materials.  The truth is, I think, opposite.  In order for us to be proficient, it’s very important to choose which tools to use.  And it is actually professional people who carefully choose its own tools to use.


Generally speaking, Saying is not for the people who are called “master” but for the people in general to become better or to lead a good life.  Therefore, true message of “Kobo Fude wo Erabazu” must be omitted and hidden.  It’s not to work with any brush but we need to choose a brush for calligraphy.


What a discovery.  I got this hidden message after thinking about levels of proficiency starting from utmost level.



1. Utmost master level….  No need to choose a tool. 

2.  Master level……............Master can choose an appropriate tool and tell if this tool is good or not. 

3. Ordinally people level……We just blame tools. 



Once again, Master Kobo’s level of calligraphy is beyond our reach.  It’s an ideal proficiency but not realistic.   We cannot be like Master Kobo who didn’t need to choose a brush but we ordinally people need to choose a brush. 

They say “a bad carpenter blames its tools.”  But at our Calligraphy Class at Koloa Jodo Mission, it’s not shame to blame a brush.  It’s ok to complain it but what is more important is to try to use a different brush.  After all, we hardly realize whether it’s good or bad until we experience both good and bad brushes.

Our next Calligraphy Class will be on Sunday, November 25th.  Please let me know if you are interested in the Japanese Calligraphy.

I'm sorry there will be no Sunday Service at Koloa Jodo Mission on Sunday, November 4th since I'll be off the island.





Celsius & Fahrenheit

When I was staying in my family temple in Japan in August,  I had opportunities to talk to the temple members.  Just like here, one of the common topics of the conversation was about weather.  Surprisingly most of them know exact temperature of today's weather and they often asked me … many degrees is the temperature in Hawaii?  This was a very difficult question because I didn’t have a thermometer here and I was not interested in the exact temperature. 


In fact, my own scale of temperature has only 5 levels based upon how I feel.  They are….Very hot, hot, ok, cool, cold.   Those are all I needed to express the temperature.  Of course, I knew it was about 90 degree in Hawaii during daytime, but I never thought of the Celsius temperature.   So whenever I was asked about temperature, I couldn't answer the exact number.  Instead, I explained like this, “It’s hot but we never have an air conditioner.”    This is how I bought thermometers and finally I started to look at the temperature here at Koloa.


To check thermometer was interesting.  I can get both Celsius and Fahrenheit at a glance.   Before I had this thermometer, I just felt it was “very hot” inside the house.  But now “very hot” has an objective number.  I was surprised it was 35 °C or 95 °F.  I thought Hawaii was much cooler than Japan in Summer time, but now I knew it was almost as hot as Japan!  This thermometer surely made me interested in the temperature both in Celsius and Fahrenheit.


My understanding of the fundamental difference between Fahrenheit and Celsius is an object of the temperature.   In Fahrenheit, it’s based on the temperature of Europe where Gabriel Fahrenheit spent.   They made the coldest temperature as zero and the hottest temperature as 100.   On the other hand, Celsius is based on the temperature of water, which I think more "scientific."  They made the freezing point of water as zero and the boiling point of water as 100 °C.   Interestingly -40 degree in Celsius is exactly -40 degree in Fahrenheit.  On the other hand, average human body temperature is 37 degree C and 98.6 degree F. 

I definitely think Celsius is much easier and convenient but as long as living in the US, I'd better to know Fahrenheit scale, too.




Celsius temperature scale

Fahrenheit temperature scale

Denoted by

°C (Degree C)

°F (Degree F)

In Japanese



Accepted in:

Almost all countries except the US, Belize, Bahamas, Liberia, Cayman Islands.

The United States, the Bahamas, Belize, Liberia, Cayman Islands

Invented & Proposed by:

Andres Celsius (1701-1744)

Swedish astronomer

Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit


Dutch-Germon-Polish physicist

Year of Invention



Body Temperature

37 ℃


The Boiling Point of Water


212 °F

The Freezing Point of Water

0 °C

32 °F

Absolute Zero

-273.15 °C

-459.67 °F

Conversion Formula

(°F - 32) / 1.8 = °C

e.g.  135°F =  ? °C

(135 – 32) ÷1.8  =57.22

°C x 1.8 + 32 = °F

e.g.    35 °C  = ? °F

(35 x 1.8) + 32 =95 °F






Buddha Belly

I've been quite interested in names of the plants both in English and in Japanese.  Before I came to Kauai, I didn't care even if I didn't know the name of the plant but now I cannot leave it unknown.  Especially after I started working as a tour guide for Japanese tourists, knowledge on plants are very useful and well-received by tourists.  As soon as I encounter the plant I've never seen before, I take a photo and look for the name. 


As you know, every plant has its binomial name which is usually Latin and also each language has its own common names.  I feel so interesting how plant was named.  Usually there are more than one common names and they are named after what it looks like or the characteristics of the plant.  Therefore the more common names I know, the deeper I get to know the plant.


The photo above is a plant called "Jatropha podagrica."  It was at the parking of Kaua'i Kookie Factory in Hanapepe when I first saw this plant.  At that time I didn't know the name but soon I had a chance to find out the name because Botanical Garden was selling this plant for their fundraiser during their Cinco De Mayo.  Then I was lucky to know this common name as "Buddha Belly" and started growing it.

The binomial name "Jatropha podagrica" in Latin literally means "Jatropha (iatros +trophe) =physic nut", "poda=foot" and "grica=gouty."  It seems that the name of podagrica was named after the puffy swollen stalk or stem which is very distinguished.

Therefore, other common names such as "gout plant", "goutystalk" , "bottleplant" are considered to be named after this distinguished stalk, too. 

Another common name "Buddha Belly" is same thing.  Puffy stalk of the plant evokes typical image of "Happy Fat Buddha" whose belly is puffy.

People call this image as "Buddha" however the model of this fat laughing person is not Buddha but a Chinese monk called "Budai" or "Hotei" in Japanese.


Budai (布袋) which literally means "Cloth sack", allegedly lived around the 10th century in China.  His name refers to the bag that he is conventionally depicted as carrying as he wanders aimlessly.  His jolly nat”ure, humorous personality ,and eccentric lifestyle distinguishes him from most Buddhist masters or figures.   Chinese nickname "笑佛” which means "smiling Buddha" must be source to call it "Buddha Belly." 


On the other hand, Japanese name of this plant "Sango-aburagiri" came from the red flower, not fat stalk.   "Sango" means "Coral" and "Aburagiri" means "Vernicia" or "tung-oil tree."   Because red flower looks like Sango or Coral, "Sango-aburagiri" was named.   All common names represent characteristic of this plant.   But common name "Buddha Belly" sounds most positive and happy.  I'm very happy to see my blooming "Buddha Belly" and look forward to getting seeds in the future.






Food Safety

The State of Hawaii, Department of Health changed its regulation for the food safety and as of September 2018, a new mandate for Food Handlers Education certificate requires at least one employee present at every food establishment during normal hours to have a formal food handlers training level certification.   


Of course we are not a restaurant but because we do have Bon Dance to prepare/provide food at the temple kitchen, our temple 

President made arrangement for me and himself to take a free 2.5 hour certification class on safe food handler’s class last Wednesday.  Before going to this class, I was a little nervous to take a test which requires 70% to pass.  But at the beginning of the class, I was so relieved to hear what our instructor said.   You can retake test two more times if you didn’t pass the test!


The class was actually very interesting with lots of important facts and knowledge on safety of the food, virus, pests, and the appropriate way to prepare, handle and store food.  At first, I was trying to take memo for everything which was projected on the screen.  But soon I gave up writing all.  Instead I started taking photos of the slides projected on the screen.


There were exactly 40 multiple-choices questions and no time limit for the test.  Questions were easy, but I took more time to make it sure for the correct answers.  Because I passed the test, I should not have complaints but for the future better education, I think to check answers at the site right after the test, will be more beneficial and useful to know what was wrong. 


Needless to say, improvement is always possible if you can notice you made a mistake and without realizing your mistake, it hardly gets better.   In fact, I had two questions that I was not sure the answers and I thought it would be nice to have time to get the right answers at the site, rather than just to know “pass or not pass.” 


The certificate I got will be good for three years and will meet the 2017 requirement** of the Hawaii Administrate Rules, Chaper 11-50 Food Safety Code.  Also I'm glad my card is good not only at Koloa Jodo but also at another facility such as Kapaa Jodo Mission.  


* 11-50-20(c) Food Protection Certification


(1) The person-in-charge shall demonstrate knowledge of basic food safety by successfully completing a food safety course that is part of a department food safety program or other program approved by the department.






Thoughts on regret

A Danish philosopher, Kierkegaard left an interesting saying about regret. 


“Marry, and you will regret it; don’t marry, you will also regret it either way.”


Of course, this is not always true since we can find both happy couples and happy singles.   However, at least one thing is true about this saying.  There are only two kinds of “regret” in this world; one is a regret on what you did.  Another one is a regret on what you didn’t do.    “Marry” and “don’t marry” or “Did” and “Didn’t do” are completely different choice and different way.  But once we choose it, there is always possibility of regret because of the two choices we have every moment … whether we do it or not to do it.   In other words, two kinds of regrets are nothing but two kinds of actions we do every moment.


In our daily life, there are many actions or things we do….such as wake up, pray, eat, walk, read newspaper, work, study, talk, watch TV and so on…yes, we do many things in a day.  However, all actions we do can be divided into two types of actions.  They are “to do” and “not to do.”   That’s all.  This means whatever we do something, we always have a choice “to do it” or “not to do it.”    Then once we chose it out of two choices or two ways, another choice you didn’t take could be the source of regret.  


Of course, some daily actions such as eating, walking, reading or watching hardly produce regret since we can always redo it or do it later even if you chose “not to do.”   But most actions which require to choose “to do” or “not to do” at this moment cannot be redone.   Once we choose it, we cannot take it back and this is the very reason we regret.


Probably in the past, you’ve experienced you were thinking whether you should buy it or not.  In many cases, you buy it because it’s necessary but sometimes you buy it because it’s cheap.   And sometimes the one you bought was quite useless and you regret on what you bought it.   The more expensive it was, the more you regret it.  On the other hand, you sometimes regret on what you didn’t buy, especially when you are travelling.   So both shopping and no shopping can be the very source of regret.  


However, I found out there was an exception!   I noticed there was one “regret-free” action.   That’s the shopping in USA, especially at Walmart. 


In Japan, as you may know, returning policy is very limited.  You cannot return all items at all stores.   Only certain stores accept returning if the product has defects.  You need an appropriate reason to return the item. However, returning policy is guaranteed here in the US.  For me, it was amazing that you can return items with no special reasons.   This means you are “regret-free” when you shop in US.   You might regret it if you didn’t buy it, but you won’t regret it even if you bought it because of this returning policy.  


As you know, Black Friday is coming soon next month.   If you are thinking whether you should buy it or not at Walmart, you should buy it because if you didn’t buy it on sale, that’s it.  There is little chance to buy it with that price and there is high possibility that you may regret on what you didn’t buy.   And if you bought it, there should be no regret because of the return policy.   If you think you don’t need it, you can return it within 90 days.


It may be ashamed but I’m a repeat customer who often use customer service for returning.  No special reason for returning is actually necessary but they always ask me, “What’s wrong?”  My conventional phrase to answer it is “Nothing’s wrong. My wife just didn’t like it.”   Then they accept returning.  






If you wish to reach the highest, begin with the lowest

Publilius Syrus (85BC- 43 BC) was a Syrian poet and comic dramatist in ancient Rome around the last century BC.   I had never read his writings in Japan but nowadays I enjoy reading his writings through internet.  You may not be familiar with his name but you must be familiar with his sayings such as


“No one knows he can do until he tries.”

“It is not every question that deserves an answer.”

"It is better to learn late than never.”


There are plenty more of his sayings but probably the most famous Publilius’s saying can be “A rolling stone gathers no moss.”  I knew this was originally Latin, but I never knew this was credited to the writer of the first century BC.  This was how I became interested in Publilius Syrus and bought a book called "The Moral Sayings of Publius Syrus: A Roman Slave."  


To my surprise, Publilius Syrus was once a Syrian slave and taken to the provincial Rome when he was 12 years old.  However, he was good at wit and mimicking people and gradually won the favour of his master, who eventually freed and educated Publilius.   According to the Wikipedia, Publilius was perhaps even more famous as an improviser, and received from Caesar himself the prize in a contest in which he vanquished all his competitors, including Decimus Laberius.  Now his fame is worldwide beyond times.... more than 2,000 years.   


He left a saying “If you wish to reach the highest, begin with the lowest” and it sounds true because of his real experience from being a slave to the Roman celebrity.   I think this saying indicates importance of positive attitude no matter how miserable you may be experiencing.   Realizing your situation as the lowest means you cannot be lower anymore.  Once you experience being the lowest, anything you do can be higher and positive. 


This understanding is actually very similar to the basic teaching of Buddhism which regards life as suffering.  Connotation of suffering may lead you to misunderstand Buddhism as a negative religion.  But realization of suffering is actually positive attitude to accept current situation.   This is just like common phrase, “Prepare for the worst” when we receive news of approaching hurricane.


As Kaua’i experienced hurricanes in the past, you know hurricanes are very scary.  It could take our lives and houses away.   However it’s inevitable and not only hurricane but other disasters could happen anytime in the future.  No one can stop nature.   Then what can we do?   There are not many things we can do but the best we can do is to prepare for the worst…. Preparing extra food, water and all the necessities…The more you do, the less we worry.  Yet we cannot get rid of all worries.  But that’s all we can do.


On the other hand, if you don’t’ prepare anything for hurricane, smaller damages can be really something and critical.  Life is same thing.  If we are not preparing for suffering, we might feel so much suffering when misfortune comes to us.  But if we can prepare for the worst suffering, we can always feel less suffering and more blessing because of the preparation.  Buddhist understanding of life as suffering is the first step to prepare to work with suffering which is surely coming to us, just like hurricane.

Once again, we cannot stop natural disasters.  We cannot change nature.   And it’s hard to change people’s ideas and even one’s spouse’s thoughts.  But Publilius’s saying tell us…what is important is not to change the situation but to change our understanding to accept the situation.   How?  He says nothing difficult…“begin with the lowest."





Matsuri Kauai 2018

2018 Matsuri Kauai, presented by the Kauai Japanese Cultural Society, will be held tomorrow on Saturday, September 22nd from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm at the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall in Lihue.   There will be various cultural exhibits and performances such as Taiko drumming, Mochi pounding, Japanese dances all day long. There will be some food sales, too.   

This event is free and open to public!!!





The biggest defeat can be the biggest victory


The biggest defeat of my life was a fact I started smoking.                  The biggest victory of my life was a fact I quit smoking.                                 - Kosen Ishikawa - 


It’s been almost 10 years since I quit smoking.  Now I almost forgot about pleasure of smoking and I never want cigarette again but it was actually very hard for me to quit smoking. 


 I started smoking when I was 20 years old.  I was a college student in Yokohama but found little meaning to study various “unnecessary” subjects.    Of course, I was wrong but young.  I ran away from taking some exams and I started travelling the Pacific side of the Honshu, Japan with my brand-new backpack.  At that time, I was so inspired by the life of Kobou Daishi who spent youth time as travelling and I regarded this backpack trip as a wild training to know the world.


I visited many temples, shrines and famous sightseeing sites during the day time and at night, I slept on the benches at the train stations.   At that time, there was no smart phone or tablet with me.   While spending lonely nights at the benches of the stations, I started missing “something.”  If I were a beer-drinker, I probably wouldn’t need a cigarette, but I first bought a cigarette from the vending machine at Toyohashi station in Aichi prefecture. I remember I was looking at the cigarette package for a few hours , thinking whether I should stop starting cigarette.   But I defeated.  I bought a lighter at the convenience store at midnight and started smoking.  My first impression of smoking was “NOOOOO Good!!!  It was nothing but smoky.  However, I assumed if I continued smoking, sooner or later, I should feel good.   So I smoked cigarette again and again till I felt good.  After all, I didn’t feel good on that night but  on the next day, I found myself addicted to the cigarette.  This was my biggest regret and the biggest defeat of my life since I spent over 17 years and plenty money for the habits of smoking cigarettes even after I came to Kauai.


Because of this biggest defeat, however, I felt supreme sense of victory when I was successful to quit smoking.   Quitting smoking brought me more time, more saving money, more hobbies and better heath and of course more weight but the most important fact to quit smoking was to deepen my understanding of Buddhism.  In addition, this success gave me lots of confidence to deliver the Buddhist teachings because of the triumph over the most difficult and tough battle. 


The secret to quit smoking for me was actually to get back to the basics of the Buddhism which regards life as suffering.   Smoking was same thing.  It is not pleasure but more suffering is caused by the smoking.   It’s very simple but this simple discovery of “suffering” in smoking actually made me wish to be free of suffering.   At the same time, I did more Nenbutsu to get rid of the desires of smoking.  Of course, I’m thankful to my wife, too, who gave me good food.


Once again, the biggest defeat of my life was a fact I started smoking and the biggest victory of my life so far was a fact I quit smoking cigarette….Life is not always fun, pleasant and happy rather more mistakes and sufferings are always happening around us.  But if we rightly realize our sufferings and mistakes around us, there should be always ways to get out of suffering.   

                                                                         Namu Amida Butsu






Betcho = Niigata Ondo?


What is Niigata Ondo?  I was very curious when I first heard it at Zenshuji a few years ago.  I actually came from Niigata, but I had never heard it before.  Then I got it when I saw them dancing at the very end of Bon Dance.   It was not a newly introduced song but a very traditional song which is usually played at the end of Bon Dance here on Kauai.  It’s been known as “Betcho.”


However, Kauai Soto Zen Temple renamed this song as “Niigata Ondo” since their president Mr. Gerald Hirata found out the meaning of “Betcho” after some researches.  It’s an argot or secret Japanese language to mean female’s genital organ or intercourse.   I’m sure people must be shocked to know its meaning.   Therefore it was kind of natural reaction to avoid to use this word of “Betcho” since Bon Dances are held at temples.   This is how “Betcho” was renamed.


However, I want to continue to use the word “Betcho” because this is the name of beloved song we have inherited from the predecessors on Kauai.  In addition, there seems to be already “Niigata Ondo” in Japan which is completely different song/dance from the one played on Kauai.  I don’t think it’s a good idea to use “Niigata Ondo” just because they say…the song was transmitted from Niigata.   


What we need is not to change the name but to change how to understand the name.   Why female genital organ is used as a name of the song?   And what is the meaning of intercourse in the song of “Betcho”?  

I regard one of the important meanings to hold Bon dance is to renew our appreciation to our ancestors.  Then how we honor our ancestors?

Of course, prayers and chanting sutras are important but one of the best ways to honor ancestors may be to show family’s property.   Traditionally family’s prosperity means more children.   The more children we get, the happier our ancestors must be.   If this understanding is true, “betcho” plays a significant role for the family’s prosperity.   Needless to say, without "Betcho", no children is born.


Interestingly, in the song of traditional Betcho, there are two ways of dancing are used by the two groups of dancers.  They are dancing in the completely different direction in the circle.  One group is dancing clockwise and another group is dancing anti-clockwise.  If you look these two different dances as a whole, I always see “Betcho” as boys meeting girls.   Therefore, I could understand the meaning of “Betcho” as “man and woman.”


Some years ago, there was a popular song called “Hokkai Bon Uta” was played at Bon Dances on Kauai.  This was a song from Hokkaido and Bon towel or Tenugui is used for the song.  I don’t know when it was taken out from the Bon Dance numbers but it’s been a while since I danced this song last time.


 Then I was so happy to find this dancing from the old Digital videotapes I took in 2003!  when I looked at the dancing carefully, I became excited because I found so much similarity to the song called “Betcho.”   Then I got a right keywords of “Betcho and Hokkai Bon Uta.”


I found out “Hokkai Bon Uta” was actually created from the song called “Betcho-bushi” after the World War II.   It’s even introduced in the Wikpedia article, stating  “Hokkai Bon Uta” originated to the song called “Betcho” which were full of dirty slang lyrics.   This was mainly danced by the workers at coal mines in Hokkaido but after revising lyrics and tune, it was renamed as “Hokkai Bon Uta.”   Especially after Mihashi Michiya sang this “Hokkai Bon Uta” it became a hit and well known throughout Japan.


Now I’m definitely opposed to rename the song of “Betcho” as Niigata Ondo.   Rather I’m in favor to keep using “Betcho.”    Meaning?    Instead of explaining it by words, it will be great if we all can show its dancing.  







We are so saddened to hear the loss of our Bishop Yubun Narashiba of Jodo Mission of Hawaii,  who once served Koloa Jodo Mission from 1987 to 1997.   We started praying for him when we received a news that he was taken to the Queens Hospital on July 19 and hoped his earliest recovery but passed away on July 20th.  It was a heart attack.


We, family and members of Koloa Jodo Mission express our deepest sympathy and condolence to Mrs. Narashiba and family.  We cannot but pray...Namu Amida Bu.  


Our prayer, Nenbutsu or Namu Amida Bu, is not a magical word to cure disease but is a miracle word to lead us to the ultimate bliss of Amida Buddha.  


Mahalo and Aloha to Bishop Narashiba.  Namu Amida Butsu.





Good thing comes in a pair

The grabber tool to pick up things without bending knees is so useful!   It's now on sale at Costco and its price just went down to $8.99!!!

I'm not sales person at Costco but I just fell in love at first sight.  Now I cannot help commending this tool after using it for a month.   There are two grabbers as a set.


Why do they sell two as a set?  All of sudden, the question came up to my mind.  And if you get two, how do you use it? and what is the meaning of two for you?   It may be a trifle matter but I just thought of the meanings of two....



One grabber is for you and another one is for your spouse?  One is to use now and another one is to use for later.  One is to pick up trash and one is to pick up non-trash?  One is for me and one is for you?  There could be many meanings of "Two."


For me, two grabbers is for inside and one is for outside.  I do use it in many occasions but the best use of this grabber so far is when I pick up fallen Ti leaves.  It's hard to pick up with broom but with this grabber, I can get fall ti leaves so easily. 


Anyway, two grabbers from Costco is so good just like a Chinese saying "good thing comes in a pair."   





Wheat and Chaff


Jumble of good and bad is expressed as “玉石混淆(Gyoku-seki Konkou)” in Kanji, which literally means “mixture of ball (jewel) and stone.”    In English, it may be called “mixture of wheat and chaff” or “thread and thrum.”   They both indicate “good and bad coexists together.”


Here at Koloa Jodo Mission, my favorite jade-color bowels are exactly “玉石混淆(Gyoku-seki Konkou)” or "thread and thrum"!  Plastic bowels are actually second-handed from Koloa Elementary School and they have been here for over 30 years!

On the other hand, jade color glass bowel is…OMG….a popular antique ware of the “Fire King Ware!”  which must be made before 1976!    Good and bad, precious and common things are naturally here....and  we are proud to keep using  old junks and treasures together.








Bon Dance was not prepared in a day but cleaned up in a day.


Mahalo nui loa to those who helped us celebrating our 2018 Bon Dance.   I’ve made a video to thank you very much!  At the ending part, I put my message.


During Bon Dance, I was surprised to receive a paycheck.  Wow, I got a big raise.  Working for two temples, two Bon Dances and two Toro Nagashi….finally I got a high evaluation!  However I soon realized this was not a raise but just a regular salary for the past three months.  During the past months, we have been so busy that our President forgot to pay me and I forgot to request it.  I thought this was a blessing since I didn’t need to think of money for what I worked.  In addition, now I feel….I got a surprise bonus! (LOL)   


But at the same time, I feel sorry….I’m the only one who receive a paycheck from our temple.   Our president has worked almost full time for our temple for the past months but that was all volunteer jobs.  Besides he brought his entire family, relatives and friends together to work for Bon Dance.   And of course, there are some more members who brought their families and relatives to here.   


What a dedication we have received during Bon Dance!!!  Bon Dance always make me realize my life is deeply supported by people's unselfish dedication and kindness.   And I even feel for their sacrifices to help our temple.  But because I can feel "sorry,"  I want to return "kindness" to people.   I want to be useful and helpful not only in the temple but also in the community and society in the near future.

Once again, thank you so very much! 

This is a shorter version of my message.

Longer version....This may be boring for non-helpers.





2018 Toro Nagashi by Kapaa Jodo Mission

Kapaa Jodo Mission will sponsor 2018 Toro Nagashi Ceremony on this Sunday, June 24 at 7:30 p.m. at Wailua River State Park (photos above.)   All are invited and welcome at the park.  A few more lanterns may be available to purchase.   Please contact me as soon as possible if you'd like to dedicate a lantern for your beloved one.   


For your information, Koloa Jodo Mission just started accepting orders for another lantern ceremony which will be held at Kukuiula Boat Harbor on Sunday, August 5, 2018.   






The gravestone of the First Japanese Immigrant to Hawaii arrvied in 1868.

Some time ago, uncle Dick of Anahola taught me the first Japanese immigrant rest in the graveyard of Koolau Protestant Church.  Then he continued to tell me he remembered one of Japanese Royal princes visited the site when the prince came to Kauai a few decades ago.  This was very interesting because I knew the year of 2018 would be the 150th Anniversary since the first Japanese group called "Gannenmono" arrived in Hawaii.  I never knew there was Gannenmono rest here on this island.  I wanted to find out the exact location of gravestone and wanted to offer my prayer.


Uncle Dick actually offered to take me to the site next time when I go to have a graveyard service at Anahola.  But I couldn't wait "next time" in June and whenever I went to the North, I stopped by at the graveyard to look for the stone.   The graveyard was not so big and I thought I could find it easily.  However some characters were hard to tell because of the green moss stick to the stones.   I took time to look at all gravestones at least three times but couldn't find it until uncle Dick led me to the site yesterday.


Because of my experiences I couldn't find it by myself, I was super curious about the location I missed to reach.  As soon as Uncle Dick and family arrived at the parking space of the grave, I saw uncle walked to the direction I never expected.  That was completely opposite direction of the Japanese gravestones.  The area was for the Christians.  Then he stopped at the stone which contained the sign of Holy Cross!  


What?  I knew I was familiar with this stone.  I remember I passed this stone but the stone was for Christian.  Uncle Dick told me, "Sensei, this is the stone.  When I first visited here, the stone was laid down.  But now it looks somebody fixed it."


The stone says "Beloved Grandfather Arai Bunto - 1844- Sept.19, 1925 - The First Japanese Immigrant to Hawaii Arrived 1868."  You cannot imagine how I was happy to reach this stone finally.   Because I looked at all stones at least three times, I remember this stone as "Beloved Grandfather" with Holy Cross.   But I was so preoccupied with a thought that the first Japanese immigrant was Buddhist, my consciousness couldn't read all the characters of the stone.  At a glance of holy cross, I never thought this was for the first Japanese immigrant to Hawaii.


Needless to say, nobody actually told me the first Japanese group were Buddhists.  I just had a bias or preconceived idea from the beginning.  I just imagined the first Japanese immigrant should have a Japanese style gravestone and he must be a Buddhist.  But these wall of my prejudices actually prevented me to find a stone.  Because I had such a strong preconceived image of the first Japanese immigrant, I missed to look at the truth.


This became another great experience for me to realize how open mind is important to see the truth.   We think we always see the truth.  But the truth is not always visible if we have prejudices or bias or preconceived ideas.  Of course, sometimes knowledge can be helpful to find the truth but at the same time, knowledge can be obstacle too if we depend on it too much.  So if we seek for the truth, we should be away from any prejudices, biases and preconceived ideas.  Need to open toward the truth because the truth is beyond any judgment. 







2018 Bon Dance Season has started at Kapaa Jodo Mission

2018 Bon Dance Season has just started on Kauai.

Did you miss it?  But please don't worry...Bon Dance continues to

the following temples during Summer.   Also I will follow up with videos!


June 15-16   West Kauai Hongwanji Mission (Hanapepe)
June 22-23   Lihue Hongwanji Mission
June 29-30   Waimea Shingon Mission
July 6-7      Koloa Jodo Mission
July 13-14   West Kauai Hongwanji Mission (Waimea)
July 20-21   Kapaa Hongwanji Mission
July 27-28   Waimea Higashi Hongwanji Mission
Aug. 3-4   Kauai Soto Zen Temple





2018 Bon Dance!

Can you believe it?   It's already Bon Dance Season!!!


This year, the first Bon Dance of nine bon dances hosted by the Kauai Buddhist council will launch at Kapaa Jodo Mission on this Friday and Saturday, June 8 & 9 from 7:30 p.m to 10:30 p.m.  


Bon Dance is a part of Buddhist Festival known as “O-bon” which honors the spirits of ancestors who are believed to come back to this world during summer time.  In order to welcome the spirits, families get together to have a service, pray and dance together with a big feast.  


This year, Kauai Buddhist council temples celebrate and honor the 150th Anniversary of the first arrival of the group of Japanese Immigrants to Hawaii since 1868.  Because 1868 was called “Meiji Gannen” meaning “The First Year of the Meiji Era”, those who reached Hawaii in 1868 have been called "Gannen-mono” meaning "First Year Folks.”   Special prayer will be offered at each temple and some temples will have special features celebrating “Gannenmono.”


At the first bon dance at Kapaa Jodo Mission,  there will be Taiko Drumming Performance by Sensei Aki Conquest and Joyful Noise at the intermission on Friday, June 8 and Okinawan Eisa Dance will be performed on Saturday, June 9.   


Local food such as Kauai's unique "Flying Saucer" will be available from 6:00 p.m.   All are invited and welcome.   For more information, please call 635-8530.



2018 Dates





June 8 & 9

Kapaa Jodo Mission

4524 Hauaala Road Kapaa, HI 96746  Ph: 808-822-4319

7:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.

6:30 pm on June 8 & 9




June 3

@10:30 am

June 15 & 16

West Kauai Hongwanji (Hanapepe) 1-3860 Kaumualii Highway Hanapepe, HI 96716 Ph: 808-335-3195

7:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.

6:00 pm on June 15 (Hatsubon)

Bon Service Sunday, August 12 @9:00 am


June 22 & 23

Lihue Hongwanji Mission

3-3530 Kuhio Highway Lihue, HI 96766 Ph: 808-245-6262

7:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.

6:30 p. m. on June 22 & 23

Hatsubon Service:

June 17@9:00am

June 29 & 30

Waimea Shingon Mission 3770 Pule Road Waimea, HI 96766 Ph: 808-338-1854

7:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.

6:30 p.m. on

June 29 & 30

(*Hatsubon on Friday)


July 6 & 7

Koloa Jodo Mission 3480 Waikomo Road Koloa, HI 96756 Ph: 808-742-6735

7:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.


Bon Service


Sunday, July 1st @10:30 am

July 13 & 14

West Kauai Hongwanji (Waimea) 4675 Menehune Road Waimea, HI 96796

Ph: 808-335-3195

7:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.

6:00pm on July 13 (Hatsubon)

Bon Service

Sunday, August 12 at 9:00 am


July 20 & 21

Kapaa Hongwanji Mission 4-1170 Kuhio Highway Kapaa, HI 96746 Ph: 808-822-4667

7:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.

6:00 p.m. on Friday, July 20


Sunday, July 15     9:00 am, Family Bon Service


July 27 & 28

Waimea Higashi Hongwanji 9554 Kaumualii Highway Waimea, HI 96796

Ph: 808-338-1847

7:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.

6:30 p.m. on

July 27 & 28

(*Hatsubon on Friday)


August 3 & 4

Kauai Soto Zen Temple 1-3500 Kaumualii Highway Hanapepe, HI 96716

Ph: 808-245-2841, 808-346-4650

7:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.

6:00 pm on Aug 3 & 4

Memorial services








Bon Dance Practice at Koloa Jodo Mission


It's already May and Bon Dance is coming soon on Kauai.  Koloa Jodo Mission will start Bon Dance Practice here from Tuesday, May 8 at 6:30 p.m.   As you know, this year, we get a new song, "Dai Tokyo Ondo" and the following video will be helpful to learn this song.


For your information, Bon Dance Practice are held at the following temples. 


Kapaa Hongwanji       Mondays @7:00 p.m. 


Koloa Jodo                  Tuesdays @6:30 p.m. from May 8


WKH Hanapepe         Thursdays @6:00 p.m.  


Lihue Hongwanji        Fridays @ 7:30 p.m. from May






Reading a receipt

Honestly, I wished to take a vacation after Hanamatsuri but as soon as I came back to temple, I had to start working for the tax since its due date was coming so soon. 


My tax preparation is supposed to be easy however I have much more outgo for the temple.  As a result, I needed to review all the receipts which have been here and there in the office.  So it took me about 1.5 days to clean up office first and then I can face reviewing receipts. 


I'm so glad I didn't lose all the necessary receipts and documents.  However a big problem's sometimes very hard to identify the items on the receipt!  


For the picture above, a receipt from Walmart says "10CT 2 EXP."  What is this?


I can tell "CT" means "count" but I don't know about "EXP."  For me this was like a code!!!  Can you tell what is this? 


Of course, because receipts have date and time you shopped, I'd better try to recall it with a hint of date/time and other shopping items.   But I competely forgot it because the date was way back to February last year.  if you don't remember what you bought, how do you identify the item?


This time I took a look at the receipt carefully and noticed numbers next to the item.  

I guessed it could be ID number for the item throughout Walmart stores and wanted to check it at their website.

Then I visited the home page and I entered the numbers of the item in the search, and then press it.........

Very glad to get Bingo!  The numbers showed the item I bought and now I remember I bought this for teaching Japanese language....


This way to identify the item on the receipt worked at the HomeDepot, too but didn't work at Costco.  Now I need to think about a way to identify the items....  Better directly to Costco?  






Best + Best = ?

I've just changed a front page design for the Buddha Day Service tomorrow. Instead of using photos of the Buddhist council temples, I decided to use some front page designs in the past.  I thought this looked more like "Book fair?"


After looking at programs in the past, I noticed one thing.  

Front page is usually the best description of its contents.  And usually, less explanation and more pictures are used to imply what is this event like?   In other words, all the past designs of the Buddha Day programs could be the best answer toward the question "what is Buddha day?" without using much words!  


So my idea is very simple.  I just collected and used the best answers of what is Buddha Day?  I thought collected best answers should be better than "the best" in the past. 


Just for fun, I've made an Equation...


Best + Best + Best = Better than the best.


Tonight Candle night will be held at Hoffgard Park in Waimea Town, hosted by Waimea Buddhist temples and ministers, after memorial service for the beloved pets and animals from 6:00 pm.






Kauai Buddhist Council Temples

Have you ever visited all the Buddhist temples which host Bon Dance on Kauai?  If so, have you visited their Hondo (Main Altar Hall), too?  Then can you tell which (altar) is which (temple)?


Well, let me post the following photos of all Bon Dance hosting temples on Kauai.  I hope this could be a good opportunity to check if you remember characteristics of the altars.  The answer follows photos.


I wonder....did you notice the order of this listing temples?


The order of listing photos here is actually the order of 2018 Bon Dance on Kauai Schedule!!!


So the first photo here is, 

1. Kapaa Jodo Mission (June 8-9)

The second photo is,

2. West Kauai Hongwanji Mission Hanapepe Temple (June 15-16)

3. Lihue Hongwanji Mission (June 22-23) 

4. Waimea Shingon Mission (June 29-30) 

5. Koloa Jodo Mission (July 6-7)

6. West Kauai Hongwanji Mission Waimea Temple (July 13-14)

7. Kapaa Hongwanji Mission (July 20-21)

8. Waimea Higashi Hongwanji Mission (July 27-28)

9. Kauai Soto Zen Temple  (August 3-4) 


So when you go to the temples next time, please check my information is correct!  It'll be nice to check out the differences of the altars and of course, nice to offer prayer there at the Hondos.


Tonight Candle Night will be at Hanapepe.  Both Kauai Soto Zen and West Kauai Hongwanji Hanapepe Temple will host the open house from 6:00 p.m. -8:00 p.m.   







Some time ago, when I was about to leave Koloa to pick up my daughter at Lawai, I mistakenly locked myself out. I definitely knew I shouldn’t have locked the door yet, but it was too late.  Unintentionally, I locked the door with all of my keys inside the house…House Key, keys for the temple, and car key were all inside.  But that was not all.  My smart phone and wallet were also in the house!  I was totally locked out and I couldn’t do anything but shout myself “Oh, NOOOO!(Baka-tare).”   I wonder have you experienced this kind of lockout.



Fortunately, our social hall door was unlocked and I could use a phone.   Soon I realized, however, I’ve relied so much to my smart phone and I didn’t memorize my wife’s phone number.  What can I do?  Of course, if I waited some time, eventually my wife would be back to open the house.  But the problem was I didn’t know how soon or late she would be back.   And I needed to pick up my daughter at 5:00 pm at Lawai Warehouse where she was attending afterschool program.   Time was running quickly but all the contact numbers was in my smart phone in the locked house.   I even tried to sneak in the house by using ladder but I found myself too big for the window to enter.



In the meantime, it was already 5:40pm.  My last choice was to call our temple President Alvin Akimoto for help.   This was actually my first easy choice I thought of…because his phone number was one of four phone numbers I remember.   The numbers I know here are, 1. Kapaa Jodo Mission, Jodo Mission of Hawaii (Betsuin) where I worked for 3 years, 911 and Akimoto residence.   That’s all.  But I had a big hesitation to call him on that day because he was working all day long at the temple for preparing for our New Year’s Party.   But I started to worry my daughter, too, who must be waiting at Lawai alone and all I could do was to ask him to come here to open the house with a spare key.  I was sure he was so tired but as soon as I asked for help, he came to the house and opened house in no time.



As I reflected my 18 years here at Koloa Jodo Mission, this experience of “locked out” was my first time but I actually called our President for help so many times.   That’s why I never forget his phone number and I was so grateful for his time, generosity and talents as a engineer to fix almost anything.   He has indeed fixed my car many times, repaired toilet, shower, kitchen, house and he continues to fix something at the temple with uncle Edwin and Jimmy as our temple buildings get older.  Our membership dues of Koloa Jodo Mission has been $50 for nearly 50 years while other prices have gone up dramatically.   This was definitely possible thanks to our President and our members and friends.   Of course, this means I didn’t get a raise for many years.  But I’m rather thankful and proud of this fact since I’ve received something more precious than money. 



Last but not least, I’d like to thank the lady who kindly waited with my daughter at Lawai for nearly one hour till she is picked up by my wife.   I didn’t have a chance to thank her in person but I am still grateful for her time and true kindness.





You cannot see the wood for trees

I've just made a front page for the upcoming Kauai Buddhist Council 2018 Buddha Day Service Program.  It took only a few minutes to combine all photos of the temples on one page but I had to spend a few days to try to find a picture of Moloaa Stupa from my collections of photos/video hard drives.  There were about total of 27.5TB!!!  No wonder it took days to go through all photos.  I was so preoccupied with a thought I had some pictures of stupa but after all, I realized it would be much easier to go to Moloaa to take photos.   Yes, a roundtrip to Moloaa was just a few hours, not for a few days.


At the last Sunday Service, I talked about a famous saying "You cannot see the wood for the trees."  This experience became another good lesson that we should not stick to the old idea.  It's better to be open to try new idea.


Yes, instead of looking for the past photos I took, I can always take another new photos.  After going to Molaa, I gave up looking for other temples' photos from my hard drives.  I just went to the temples and took some photos.  They were actually better than old photos!





Sweetest Pineapple II

I ate this pineapple ....four weeks after I bought it.  Very sweet!!!
I ate this pineapple ....four weeks after I bought it. Very sweet!!!

"Sweetest Pineapple" article was originally written for the Kapaa Jodo Mission Bulletin last November.  Then I received a comment via internet.  I had no idea who sent me an email because there was no name on it.  But as soon as I read it, at least I knew the person was very knowledgeable both Pineapple and Kauai.  Let me share the following email message I received from that person.  


“I read and enjoyed your message about the pineapple.  Most people will remember Kapaa the pineapple town.  Kapaa and Up canary helped us in a big way.  We earned money to go to school, etc.  The best pineapple to me was always from the third crop.  The first crop was large and ok.  The second crop was smaller and usually sweeter.  The third crop was small and sweetest and used for juice.   However, today it’s different because of low acid pineapple and white pineapple.  Frankie’s Nursery has the best white pineapple.  Since pineapple doesn’t ripen only ferments after it is picked it is best to look at the stem and see if is freshly picked.  Secondly smell the area.   You can smell the sugar or fermentation. Frankie’s pineapple is called meli kalima (honey cream).  The Brix is 28. Maui gold pineapple is about 18 and honey is 32.  Aloha.”

It was so interesting that I naturally asked if I could share this email with our members.  At the same time, I asked the name.  Then he replied to me in no time.   It was Mr. Herbert Nishida whom I knew only name through donations for O-Toba prayer.


“My name is Herbert Nishida and you can share my novice information. Very few people will recognize my name.  I left Kapaa in 1958 but like most people I keep interest in my hometown. Now I’m a visitor. The real experts in selecting the sweetest pineapple are your members who will remain silent until asked a direct question.  Perhaps your sweetest pineapple article will create a new common bond and so on. do you pick out the best papaya. ...again the stem of the mostly green firm fruit must be fresh not old. ...smell the mostly green fruit and you should smell sugar.  If you don’t select another one.  Be sure the is not yellow because it will be smashed by the people’s hands. Unlike pineapple papaya will ripen.  People may laugh when you ask them to smell a papaya that’s green.  That’s okay because their method of selecting may be better.   Aloha”

A big Mahalo to Mr. Nishida who allowed me to share his interesting comments on the pineapple.  Especially, I agreed...the real experts will remain silent until asked a direct question.   This reminded me of the Lao Tsu's famous saying, "Those who know do not speak.   Those who speak do not know."   And now I had an idea to add his saying, "Those who answer know!"   It is my hope that I get more opportunities to hear from our members and friends about your experiences.  





Sweetest Pineapple

This pineapple as an offering to Buddha has been here for almost 4 weeks.   I think it's now ready to eat!!!
This pineapple as an offering to Buddha has been here for almost 4 weeks. I think it's now ready to eat!!!


When I used to work for Sushi bar in the glossary store,  there was a table for pineapples to sell just in front of my workplace.  As a result, I often saw customers choosing a pineapple and actually I was often asked by customers, “How do you choose a sweet pineapple?”   They were mostly tourists.


My answer had been “I’m sorry I don’t know” or sometimes “Who knows?” but because I often received questions, I became so curious about answers and found some possible answers from websites later.


One website says “choose a pineapple that is heavy.”  It also says “choose darker green leaf of pineapple.”   Then another website says “smell the butt of the pineapple!  If it doesn’t smell pineapple juice, it doesn’t contain much sugar.”   Another opinion which I thought interesting was “upside down pineapple for a while before you eat.”


I still don’t know whether they are correct or not, but because of a question I had, I stay curious which pineapple would be sweet.   Then last summer, I happened to find a way to make pineapple sweeter.


That was so simple...just to wait.   I know everybody wait for a ripe pineapple.  But did you wait enough time?  Is it really ready?   How many days do you wait?


Well let me share my experience.  Last summer, I bought a pineapple as a offering at our altar during O-Bon service at Koloa Jodo Mission in the end of July. Then right after O-Bon, I went to Japan and completely forgot this Pineapple.   After I came back here on August 18, I saw pineapple looked so dry and yellow and realized I forgot to tell my family to eat it.   I honestly thought I waisted a pineapple. 

However, it smelled so good that I tried it. 

"Oh my gosh, so sweet!!!"  To my surprise, that was the sweetest pineapple I've ever had.

Before I ate this pineapple, I used to wait only for a few days for the pineapple to ripe.  But after this experience, I wait at least a few weeks to eat Pineapple after I bought it......It's so simple but I realized "Waiting " can be the best answer for the sweetest pineapple.                                                                                    





2018 Hanamatsuri Week & Buddha Day Commemoration on Kauai


In Japan, April 8 has been known as the day when Siddhartha Gautama was born in Lumbini, Nepal about 2600 years ago.  Siddhartha was a prince of the kingdom of Kapilavastu (Northern India).  He had all the material wealth that anyone could wish for but when he was 29 years old, he was truly shocked to know people in the world were suffering from illness, poverty, and various dissatisfaction.  He then renounced all these things to go out into the world to seek a way of salvation for all the people.  After six years of hard trainings and deep meditation, he became enlightened under the Bodhi tree when he was 35 years old.  Siddhartha was then called “Buddha” which literally means “Awakened One.”   For the sake of sharing the way to happiness, Buddha traveled to preach his teachings for nearly 45 years.  His teachings were gradually transmitted from people to people, countries to countries and from generations to generations which have formed what we call “Buddhism” today.


The tradition to celebrate Buddha’s Birthday in April 8 has been brought to Hawaii with Japanese Immigrants and April 8 was officially recognized as a Buddha Day by the State Legislature of 1963. Since Buddha’s birthplace was a flower garden in Lumbini and also April in Japan is a beautiful season of Sakura flowers, Buddha’s Birthday is also called “Hanamatsuri” meaning “Flower(Hana) Festival(Matsuri)”   


In celebration of Hanamatsuri this year, Kauai Buddhist Council will offer for a full week of celebrations festivities.  From April 2nd to April 6th, “Candle Night-open house” at temple will be held at the Buddhist temples.  This open house is to offer extra time and place for prayer and meditation with candle lights to anyone, both residents and visitors of Kauai.   There will be time for meditation, prayer, Q & A, and talk-stories with Sensei.   Each temple will welcome you in a different way.


On Sunday, April 8, 2018, Buddha Day Service and Buddhist Book Fair will be observed at Lihue Hongwanji Mission from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon.   The guest speaker will be Mr. Mark Daniel Seiler whose first novel, “Sighing Woman Tea” won at the Pacific Rim Book Festival 2015 and his second novel “River’s Child” was recently awarded the Landmark Prize for fiction.”  He is a poet, musician, master carpenter, and currently serving as a board member of Koloa Jodo Mission, Kauai Buddhist Council, and Lawai International Center.


Kauai Buddhist council which consists of Kapaa Jodo Mission, Kapaa Hongwanji Mission, Kauai Dharma Center, Lihue Hongwanji Mission, Koloa Jodo Mission, Kauai Soto Zen Temple Zenshuji, Waimea Shingon Mission, Waimea Higashi Hongwanji Mission and West Kauai Hongwanji Mission (WKHM Hanapepe & Waimea Temple) will proudly display their best selections of the Buddhist books during this Buddhist Book Fair.   At the same time, we will have some books both for sale and for free available to the participants.  Temples will bring and present some free “old new book” which was supposed to be new but never read by members for many years.


There will be refreshments and lucky number follow the service.  All are invited and welcome.  For more information, please call Rev. Kosen Ishikawa at 635-8530.  Hanamasturi week Schedule as follows;


Monday, April 2                6:00 pm-8:00 pm  

Candle Night          Kapaa Jodo Mission (635-8530)


Tuesday, April 3                 6:00 pm-8:00 pm  

Candle Night           Waimea Shingon Mission (338-1854)  Wednesday, April 4          6:00 pm-8:00 pm  

Candle Night           Koloa Jodo Mission (742-6735)


Thursday, April 5                6:00 pm-8:00 pm  

Candle Night           Kapaa Hongwanji Mission (822-4667)


Friday, April 6                     6:00 pm-8:00 pm  

Candle Night           Kauai Soto Zen Temple (335-3521)


Friday, April 6                     6:00 pm-8:00 pm  

Candle Night           WKHM Hanapepe Temple (335-3195)               


  (*Hanapepe Art Night is held on Fridays.  So it’s nice to visit both temples on the same day.)



Sunday, April 8   9:30 am -12:00 noon  Buddha Day Service & Buddhist Book Fair at Lihue Hongwanji Mission.






Our Neighbor Island Oahu

Our neighbor island, Oahu was visible clearly yesterday and today from the top of Lawai cemetery.  I've lived here at Koloa for 18 years but this was my 2nd and 3rd time to see Oahu from Kauai. 


The first time I saw Oahu from Koloa road was way back in 2011 and I was so moved that I took and sent my photograph to the Garden Island Paper.  Since then, whenever I looked at the ocean, I always tried to find an Oahu.  So I was very glad to see Oahu again with my naked eyes after such a long time.


By the way, did you know how far from Oahu to Kauai?  20 minutes flight away?  Yes, it's true.  But how many miles away from Oahu to Kauai?   I was very curious and found an interesting website called
"Distance Calculator" which tells distance between two places.  If that is correct, the distance between Oahu and Kauai in a straight line is 95 miles or 152.86 km.   Interestingly, it explained more....such as a possible gasoline cost from Oahu to Kauai.


Let me quote...


"Gas cost estimates for this Oahu to Kauai trip If you were travelling in a vehicle that averaged 35 MPG and were paying $3.09 per gallon for your gas then the cost for a trip based upon an "estimated distance" of 114 drive miles from Oahu to Kauai * in gas would be in the region of $10.06 USD.


If you were driving a bigger vehicle that averaged 20 miles per gallon and were paying 3.09 per gallon for your gas then the cost for a road trip from Oahu to Kauai in gas would be around $17.61 USD.


If you were travelling in a super efficient car that averaged 60 miles per gallon and were paying 3.09 per gallon for your gas then the cost for this based on this estimate from Oahu to Kauai in gas would be around $5.87 USD.


If you averaged 50 mph, it would take around 2.32 hours to do the journey . Do bear in mind that this is based on an average speed!
(Info source:Distance from Oahu, Hawaii to Kauai, Hawaii USA in Miles or Kilometers )


Anyway, that's the distance between Oahu and Kauai. 

They say "Things come in three's!"   So tomorrow might be another chance to see Oahu from here!  






2018 Kauai Bon Dance Schedule


Happy New Year!  The following 2018 Bon Dance Schedule on Kauai was approved at the Kauai Buddhist Council General Meeting yesterday.  2018 Bon Dance will be kicked off at Kapaa Jodo Mission on Friday June 8!  



2018 Kauai Buddhist Council

Bon Dance Schedule


June 8 - 9    Kapaa Jodo Mission  


June 15-16  West Kauai Hongwanji – Hanapepe


June 22-23  Lihue Hongwanji


June 29-30  Waimea Shingon


July 6-7       Koloa Jodo 


July 13-14   West Kauai Hongwanji Waimea


July 20-21   Kapaa Hongwanji


July 27-28  Waimea Higashi Hongwanji


Aug. 3-4     Kauai Soto Zen Temple




Also at the meeting, Bon Dance Committee proposed 18 songs for 2018 Bon Dance on Kauai.  They were almost same as last year's songs but there were two changes.   Furustato Ondo was replaced with Dai Tokyo Ondo and order of Beautiful Sunday moved to the 2nd from 8th.



1.      Tanko Bushi                           3:16    


2.      Beautiful Sunday                  4:13 (8th to 2nd)


3.      Nippon Daiko                         4:10


4.      Zunpa Ondo                            3:49


5.      Hana no Bon Odori                 4:00


6.      Shiawase Samba                      3:24


7.      Bamba Odori                           4:00


8.      Kokoro Taihei                         3:58


9.      Dai Tokyo Ondo                    3:13  (New)


10.  Asatoya Yunta                         3:27


11.  Fukushima Bon Uta                 3:38


12.  Ashibina                                   3:06


13.  Sakura Ondo                             3:16


14.  Nippon Zenkoku Ohayashi Ondo      3:26    


15.  Gokigen Song                           3:55


16.  Heisei Ondo                              3:47


17.  Kawaichi Otoko Bushi              4:20


18.  Hana no Tebyoshi Odori           3:45



     "Dai Tokyo Ondo" is a new song this year however it used to be one of the popular Bon Dance Songs on Kauai till 1999. 


     If you are interested in dancing Bon Dance, you will be very welcome at the Bon Dance Practices at the following temples.   It will be good exercise with fun.  And it's free too.   If you have any question, please feel free to contact me, Kosen Ishikawa,  who happen to be President of Kauai Buddhist Council this year.


Kapaa Hongwanji       Mondays @7:00 p.m. from March 

Lihue Hongwanji        Fridays @ 7:30 p.m. from May

Koloa Jodo                  Tuesdays @6:30 p.m. from May

WKH Hanapepe         Thursdays @6:00 p.m.  Beginners’ Class from February 15th








2018 Schedule


Koloa Jodo Mission & Kapaa Jodo Mission


2018 Schedule

*Please notice Sunday Service is sometimes held at Kapaa Jodo Mission.




Sunday, January 7                   10:30 a.m.       New Year Service at Koloa


Sunday, January 14                 10:00 a.m.       Gyoki Service at Kapaa


Sunday, January 21                 10:30 a.m.       Gyoki Service at Koloa


                                                    1:00 p.m.         Bon Dance Committee


Monday, January 22               7:00 p.m.         Kauai Buddhist Council 


Sunday, January 28                 10:30 a.m.       Calligraphy Class


Sunday, February 4                 10:30 a.m.       Nehan-ye Service at Koloa Jodo


Sunday, February 11               Special Service & Gagaku Concert at Betsuin


                                                            (No Service at both Koloa and Kapaa)


Saturday, February 17            New Year’s Party at Koloa


Sunday, February 25               10:00 a.m.       Nehan-ye Service at Kapaa


Sunday, March 4                     10:30 a.m.       Higan Service at Koloa


Sunday, March 11                   10:00 a.m.       Higan Service at Kapaa Jodo


Sunday, March 18                    1:00 p.m.        Bon Dance Committee Mtg.


Sunday, March 25                   10:30 a.m.       Calligraphy Class at Koloa Jodo


Sunday, April 1                        10:30 a.m.       Sunday Service at Koloa Jodo


Sunday, April 8                        9:30 a.m.         Kauai Buddhist Council Hanamatsuri Buddha Day


Sunday, April 15                      10:00 a.m.       Buddha Day Service at Kapaa


Sunday, April 22                      10:30 a.m.       Sunday Service at Koloa


Sunday, April 29                      10:30 a.m.       Calligraphy Class at Koloa


Sunday, May 6                        10:30 a.m.       Mother’s Day Service at Koloa


Sunday, May 13                      10:00 a.m.       Mother’s Day Service at Kapaa


Sunday, May 20                      10:30 a.m.       Sunday Service at Koloa


Sunday, May 27                      10:30 a.m.       Calligraphy Class at Koloa Jodo


Sunday, June 3                        10:00 a.m.       Bon Service at Kapaa


Friday, June 8                                                     Bon Dance at Kapaa


Saturday, June 9                                                Bon Dance at Kapaa


Sunday, June 10                                                 Clean-up after Bon Dance


Sunday, June 17                      10:30 a.m.       Sunday Service at Koloa


Sunday, June 24                      7:30 p.m.         Kapaa Toro Nagashi at Wailua River State Park


Sunday, July 1                          10:30 a.m.       Bon Service at Koloa Jodo


Friday, July 6                                                      Bon Dance at Koloa


Saturday, July 7                                                 Bon Dance at Koloa


Sunday, August 5                           Koloa Toro Nagashi at  Kukuiula Boat Harbor


Sunday, August 26                   10:00 a.m.       Jizo Bon Service at Kapaa


Sunday, September 2              10:30 a.m.       Sunday Service at Koloa


Sunday, September 9              10:00 a.m.       Higan Service at Kapaa Jodo


September 14-16                                               Laypersons’ Convention


Sunday, September 23            10:30 a.m.       Higan Service at Koloa


Sunday, September 30            10:30 a.m.       Calligraphy Class at Koloa


Sunday, October 7                                              Picnic


Sunday, October 14                10:30 a.m.        Sunday Service at Koloa


Sunday, October 21                10:30 a.m.        Sunday Service at Koloa


Sunday, October 28                10:30 a.m.        Calligraphy Class at Koloa



Sunday, November 4               10:30 a.m.       Ojuya Service at Koloa

No Service on November 4.  


Sunday, November 11             10:00 a.m.       Ojuya Service at Kapaa


Sunday, November 18             10:30 a.m.       Sunday Service at Koloa

(Ojuya Service)


Sunday, November 25             10:30 a.m.       Calligraphy Class at Koloa


Sunday, December 2                9:30 a.m.          Kauai Buddhist Council Bodhi Day Service


Saturday, December 8                                      General Clean Up at Kapaa


Sunday, December 9               10:00 a.m.       Kapaa Bodhi Day Service


Sunday, December 16             10:30 a.m.       Calligraphy Class


Sunday, December 30               10:30 a.m.  

                                                      Calligraphy Class for Beginners


Monday , December 31             5:30 p.m.         New Year’s Eve Service

                                                                                 at Koloa (Ph:742-6735)


11:00 p.m.       New Year’s Eve Service at Kapaa Jodo Mission (4524 Hauaala Road, Kapaa Ph:(808)822-4319


Tuesday, January 1, 2019

10:30 a.m.  New Year's Day Service at Kapaa Jodo Mission(4524 Hauaala Road, Kapaa Ph:822-4319



Koloa Jodo Mission

3480 Waikomo Road

Koloa, HI 96756-0457

Phone:1 (808) 742-6735

Website since December 2012



Blog Archive

2019 Bon Dance Schedule on Kauai



January 1st (Mon.)

10:30 a.m.

New Year's Day Service

at Kapaa Jodo Mission


Sunday, January 7                  10:30 a.m.      

New Year Service at Koloa


Sunday, January 14                 10:00 a.m.      

Gyoki Service at Kapaa


Sunday, January 21                 10:30 a.m.      

Gyoki Service at Koloa


                                                1:00 p.m.        

Bon Dance Committee Meeting at Koloa


Monday, January 22               7:00 p.m.        

Kauai Buddhist Council Meeting at Koloa


Sun., January 28                

10:30 a.m.      

Calligraphy Class


Wed. January 31

9:30 a.m.

Kauai Care Center


Thursday, February 1

10:00 a.m.

Private Memorial Service at Hanapepe Cemetery


Sunday, February 4                 10:30 a.m.      

Nehan-ye Service

at Koloa Jodo


Wed., February 7

12:00 noon

Private Memorial Service at Kapaa Jodo


Sat. February 10

5:00 p.m.

Private Memorial Service at Kapaa Jodo


Sunday, February 11               Special Service & Gagaku Concert at Betsuin


(No Service at both Koloa and Kapaa)


Saturday, February 17            New Year’s Party at Koloa


Sunday, February 25               10:00 a.m.      

Nehan-ye Service at Kapaa


Sunday, March 4                     10:30 a.m.      

Higan Service at Koloa


Shukutoku University

Panel Theater "Dendenmushi" on Kauai

 - March 7


Monday, March 5

Visitation & Entertainment at Regency at Puakea 


4:00 p.m.

Kauai Care Center


Tuesday, March 6

9:00 a.m.

Visitation & Entertainment

at Koloa Early School

10:30 a.m.

Koloa Headstart


Wednesday, March 7

10:00 a.m.

Mahelona Hospital



Friday, March 9

3:00 p.m.

Private Memorial Service at Koloa


Saturday, March 10

4:00 p.m.

Private Memorial Service at Lawai


Sunday, March 11                   10:00 a.m.      

Higan Service at Kapaa Jodo


Sunday, March 18                  

1:00 p.m.

Bon Dance Committee Mtg.


Saturday, March 24

9:00 a.m.

Visitation & Entertainment at Regency at Puakea 


Sunday, March 25                   10:30 a.m.      

Calligraphy Class at Koloa Jodo


1:00 p.m.

Private Memorial Service


Wed., March 28

9:45 am  

Visitation & Entertainment at Kauai Care Center


12:00 noon

Presentation of Proclamation of Hanamatsuri Week & Buddha Day Commemoration from Mayor Carvalho at Lihue Civic Center 


Sunday, April 1                        10:30 a.m.      

Sunday Service at Koloa Jodo


Kauai Buddhist Council

Hanamatsuri Week

in celebration of Shakyamuni Buddha's Birth


Monday, April 2


Candle Night-Open House at Kapaa Jodo Mission


Tuesday, April 3


Candle Night-Open House at Waimea Shingon Mission


Wednesday, April 4


Candle Night-Open House

at Koloa Jodo Mission


Thursday, April 5


Candle Night-Open House 

at Kapaa Hongwanji Mission


Friday, April 6


Candle Night-Open House at Kauai Soto Zen Temple & WKH Hanapepe Temple


Saturday, April 7


Memorial Service for Pet & Annimal, followed by Candle Night at Hoffgard Park (Hosted by Buddhist Temples in Waimea)



Sunday, April 8                        9:30 a.m.        

Kauai Buddhist Council Hanamatsuri Buddha Day

Service & Buddhist Book Fair at Lihue Hongwanji Mission

Guest Speaker:

Mr. Mark Daniel Seiler,

Award Winning Writer



Saturday, April 14

9:00 a.m.

Clean-up at Kapaa Jodo Mission


Sunday, April 15                      10:00 a.m.      

Buddha Day Service at Kapaa Jodo


12:30 p.m.  Board Meeting at Kapaa Jodo


2:00 p.m.

Private Memorial Service

at Kapaa Jodo


Tuesday, April 17

7:00 p.m.

HCJM Ministers' Meeting

via Skype


Sunday, April 22                      10:30 a.m.      

Sunday Service at Koloa


Tuesday, April 24

5:00 p.m.

Wedding Ceremony



Sunday, April 29                      10:30 a.m.      

Calligraphy Class at Koloa


Saturday, May 5th

1:00 p.m.

Private Blessing Service


Sunday, May 6                        10:30 a.m.       Mother’s Day Service at Koloa


Tuesday, May 8

6:30 p.m.

Bon Dance Practice at Koloa Jodo Mission


Friday, May 11

7:00 p.m.

at Koloa Jodo Mission

Live from Koloa Jodo


24-hour Continuous Nenbutsu Relay


Sunday, May 13                      


Happy Mother's Day!


Tuesday, May 15

10:00 a.m.

Private Memorial Service


6:30 p.m.

Bon Dance Practice at Koloa Jodo Mission


Sunday, May 20                      10:30 a.m.      

Sunday Service at Koloa


Tuesday, May 22

6:30 p.m. Bon Dance Practice at Koloa Jodo Mission


Sunday, May 27                      10:30 a.m.       Calligraphy Class at Koloa Jodo


Tuesday, May 29

6:30 p.m. Bon Dance Practice at Koloa Jodo Mission



Sunday, June 3           

10:00 a.m.      

Bon Service at Kapaa Jodo


Friday, June 8                          Bon Dance at Kapaa Jodo


Saturday, June9                       Bon Dance at Kapaa Jodo


Sunday, June 10                     Clean-up after Bon Dance


Saturday, June 16

Graveyard Service

1:00 p.m. Anahola

1:50 p.m. Kapaa kealia

3:00 p.m. Wailua 

4:00 p.m. Kauai Garden Memorial

4:30 p.m. Lihue Cemetery


Sunday, June 17                      10:30 a.m.      

Sunday Service at Koloa


Sunday, June 24                      7:30 p.m.         Kapaa Toro Nagashi at Wailua River State Park


Sunday, July 1                          10:30 a.m.      

Bon Service at Koloa Jodo


Friday, July 6                            Bon Dance at Koloa Jodo


Saturday, July 7                      Bon Dance at Koloa


Saturday, July 14

8:00 a.m.

Take down O-Toba at

Kapaa Jodo Mission


Sunday, July 15

Bon Graveyard Service at 

Koloa Cemetery



Saturday, July 21

9:00 a.m.

Private Memorial Service at Kapaa Jodo


Funeral Service at Garden Island Mortuary


Sunday, July 22

2:00 p.m.

Private memorial Service at Kapaa Jodo Mission

Inurnment Service at Kapaa-Kealia Cemetery


Wed. July 25

9:45 a.m.

Visitation & Service at 

Kauai Care Center


Thursday, July 26

1:00 p.m.

Private Memorial Service at Kapaa Jodo Mission


Sunday, July 29

1:30 p.m.

Private Memorial Service at Kapaa Jodo Mission


Saturday, August 4

10:00 a.m.

Visitation & Entertainment

at Regency at Puakea



Sunday, August 5                   Koloa Toro Nagashi at Kukuiula Boat Harbor


Saturday, August 25

11:00 a.m.

Private Memorial Service at Koloa Jodo Mission


Sunday, August 26                  10:00 a.m.      

Jizo Bon Service at Kapaa


Saturday, September 1

Private Memorial Service 


Sunday, September 2            


10:30 a.m.      


Sunday Service at Koloa

No Service at Koloa Jodo

*Funeral Service for the late Bishop Yubun Narashiba will be held at Jodo Mission of Hawaii


Sunday, September 9             10:00 a.m.      

Higan Service at Kapaa Jodo

Guest Speaker: 

Rev. Mieko Majima

Kapaa Hongwanji Mission


Sunday, September 16

9:00 a.m.

Kapaa Hongwanji Mission

Higan Service:

Speaker: Rev. Ishikawa


Sunday, September 23           10:30 a.m.      

Higan Service at Koloa


Friday, September 28

7:00 p.m. -8:00 p.m.

Nenbutsu Practice Relay

24hrs LIVE from Shojokein

Temple, Kyoto JAPAN



Sunday, September 30

10:30 a.m.   Calligraphy Class at Koloa


Sunday, October 7                 

10:30 am

Sunday Service at Koloa


Sunday, October 14                10:30 a.m.      

Sunday Service at Koloa


Sunday, October 21                10:30 a.m.      

Sunday Service at Koloa


Sunday, October 28                10:30 a.m.       Calligraphy Class at Koloa


Sunday, November 4             

10:30 a.m.      

Ojuya Service at Koloa

No Service 



Sunday, November 11            10:00 a.m.      

Ojuya Service at Kapaa


Sunday, November 18            10:30 a.m.      

Sunday Service at Koloa

-Ojuya Service -


Calligraphy Workshop at Lawai International Center


Sunday, November 25            10:30 a.m.      

Calligraphy Class at Koloa


Sunday, December 2              9:30 a.m.        

Kauai Buddhist Council Bodhi Day Service at 

Kauai Soto Zen Temple

Zenshuji (Hanapepe)

Guest Speaker: Dr. Thao Le,

Associate Professor

Dr. Thao Le 



Saturday, December 8           General Clean Up at Kapaa Jodo


Sunday, December 9              10:00 a.m.      

Kapaa Bodhi Day Service


Sunday, December 16            10:30 a.m.  

Calligraphy Class


Sunday, December 30

No Service 

10:30 am

Calligraphy Class for workshop






Love Lock

It's been a long time since I saw lovelocks at Waimea Canyon lookout last May.  I know "Love is sometimes blind" but I cannot understand people who attached lovelocks in front of breathtaking views.


Leaving lovelock in front of great nature is something like throwing away rubbish in a super clean place.  We normally cannot do this.  But the truth is there are always people who do this. So I'm sure those who did install lovelocks at the lookout were not normal.  They were blinded by love.


As you know, lovelock is a symbol of "unbreakable love" by throwing away its key.  But this time it was broken and removed soon by the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources.  


I'm afraid this "cat and mouse game" might continue but we all need to realize the principle of the sightseeing site. "Don't take and leave anything."   You can only take photos and leave footprints by your shoes.  Maybe for Kauai, visitors are also welcome to leave money, too.






Harmony of the Universe (2)

What a delicious chocolate!  I went to Seven-Eleven to buy water and I happened to realize they sell some Japanese products.  One of them was this Crisp and Moist Chocolate.  I didn't intend to buy any snack but I couldn't resist buying it after seeing this product.  Just like this explanation, chocolate was so mild, crisp and moist and I felt harmony of the universe in my mouth.  So good! 


As you know, persons who have opposite characters are hard to get along.  However, if they can understand very well each other, they can be best friends.  In like manner, two opposite elements in one product are not good combinations.  But if opposites can be mixed very well, there is harmony in the combination.  I felt harmony of the universe from the combination of crisp and moist.  


...Sorry if I am exaggerating, but this is very good.






What is Buddhism?


What is Buddhism?  Dharma Talk by Rev. William Masuda during KBC Bodhi Day service last month was so interesting.  Although I forgot many parts of the talk but this simple question of "what is Buddhism in short or by using a few words" still lingers on me.  And I still remember most answers from the floor. 


I thought this question was excellent because


1. Simple and short, 2. Many answers, 3. No wrong answers


In addition, no matter how you may know Buddhism, knowledge doesn't help much to answer this question.  Rather knowledge can be an obstacle to answer since you have to choose one out of many possible answers.  Anyway, I enjoyed listening to the answers from members of the different temples..  They were "Compassion", "Impermanence and Permanence", "Non-attachment" and "Living in the present moment."  Yes, they were all correct and I was thinking my answer as "middle path" or later "Teaching of Buddha to become a Buddha."  The more I think, the more better answers I get.



Interestingly, Rev. Masuda introduced traditional passage of Buddhism as one of the answers for "What is Buddhism."  Buddhism is, "1. Refrain from Various Evils, 2. Cultivate the Various Good, 3. Purify the mind, 4. That's the teaching of Buddhas (Dharmapada)."



There is a famous episode about this phrase.  A Chinese famous poet, Bai Juyi(772-846), asked his Zen Master "What is Buddhism in essence"  Then his master replied by quoting this passage above "Refrain from Various Evils..."  However, Bai Juyi was disappointed to hear it and complained "Is that so simple?  3yrs old child could know this answer."   Then his master told Bai Juyi "3 years old child may know it yet nobody can do it even though they become 80 years old."



Our Master Honen (1133-1212), on the other hand, also thought about the same question of "What is Buddhism."  Then he pointed out the word "San-gaku (lit. three studies)"as the very essence of Buddhism,  which can be translated into "Three-fold Discipline" in English.  Master Honen said,



"Buddhist doctrine has many facets; however, its basis ultimately lies the Three-fold Discipline; that is, the precepts, meditation, and wisdom.  The three-fold Discipline are embodied in Theravada Buddhism, Mahayana Buddhism, in the tenets of exoteric and esoteric Buddhist doctrines." ( Teachings of Honen, page 5)



I thought "Precepts, Meditation, and Wisdom" could be the best answer for What is Buddhism because these three words indicates both our goal and the way to reach goal.  I haven't realized importance of wisdom until I recalled this phrase.  Yes, wisdom is the most important teaching, goal, and light.   Then I got to realize most of the answers for "what is Buddhism" are just different descriptions or expressions of "wisdom."


Needless to say, “Wisdom" is the very core concept in Buddhism and therefore we can call "non-attachment, middle path, living in the present moment, eight-fold path" as a part of wisdom.  Then how can we get wisdom? 



Excellently, three words "Precepts, meditation, and Wisdom" indicate a step-by step teaching.  First, we need to follow various rules and disciplines called "basic."  We can say any lesson such as any sports, any languages, any arts  start with the simple basics which have many "Do not things."  By following the basics or precepts, we can always improve ourselves to grow.  Then as a next step, we need meditation which is like concentration.  Where there are both basic and meditation, there is always improvement.  



However, master Honen also realized there were countless people including himself having hard times to follow simple precepts and cannot observe meditation.   According to the Buddhist tradition," One will not enter the state of samadhi(tranquility full of insight) unless one becomes pure of body and mind through the observation of the precepts." 


If wisdom is achieved only by precepts and meditation, what will happen to people who cannot do these.  Is there any way we can be saved?  Is there any Buddhist teachings other than "Three fold discipline"?  Master Honen made questions that eventually led him to renounce traditional Buddhism and established Jodoshu in 1175. 


Once again, I thought the question “what is Buddhism?” was such a wonderful “right” question.  If we can make “right question”, it’s always possible to find an answer.  On the other hand, if we make a wrong question, the answer might be wrong, too.  In this complicated world, it’s kind of hard to find a right way and right answer.  However, just like Honen Shonin found a right question, if you can make a right question, you will find a right way out of the problems. 






Saving is Investing


Last month, price of forever stamp was raised to 49 cents from 47 cents.  I wonder did you buy stamps before this raise in price?  I did buy some stamps for Koloa Jodo Mission  but now I regret I didn't buy more. 


As you know, the value of forever stamp will never change even though its price may go up when you buy it in the future. 

This means we can definitely save money when forever stamp is cheaper.  Of course, amount of saving money is depend on how many stamps you use in the future.  So you might think this raise of 2 cents is very small and it won't affect much when you buy only a small amount.   However, the more you need to use forever stamp, just "2 cents" raise can become bigger and bigger. 

For example,


Number of Forever stamp

47 cents/Stamp

(Before raise)


49 cents/Stamp

(After raise)






20 cents




















Of course, number of over 10000 stamps seem to be so huge and may not be realistic to buy these numbers of stamp at one time.   But if you are using "forever stamp" regularly, these numbers will come eventually.  So if you need to use about 200 stamps every month, consumption of stamps will be2400 stamps annually. 





Usage of forever stamp

(200 /a month)

1 year


2 years


3 years


4 years


5 years





So if I was able to buy 12000 stamps before this raise, I could have save at least $240 for the stamp usage in 5 years.  That's actually lots of saving as compared to the bank's interest.  Currently interest rate for bank CD is almost nothing.   Even though you deposit money for longer period like 5 years, it won't make much money.  


We tend to think saving and earning are two different things and we like more earning than saving.  However if we can be mindful of the meaning of saving, saving and earning can be a same thing as a whole. 

So  buying cheaper forever stamps should be much better investment if you use stamps regularly.  The rate of this raise of 2 cents for 47 cents is actually 4.2%!!!   This means if you were able to buy cheaper forever stamp, you could save 4.2% of the price...which should be same as earning 4.2% interest.


Yes, saving is investing.  I wrote this for the next time.






History repeats itself?

War, peace, war, peace, war, peace, war, peace, war, war, peace, war, peace.....This is our history of human being if I can put it bluntly.  Of course, reality is never so simple but we human being repeated war and peace countless times in the past and they are still happening in this moment..  


Nobody like war and everybody love peace.  However peace can be broken so easily by war. Then war make us seek for peace.  Just like swinging pendulum, war and peace are happening and going back and forth repeatedly.


Another interesting expression for our human history can be "repetition of unity and division."  We all want to be united and love sense of unity.  Then once it is unified, however, we lose our sense of special and we seek for the smaller groups.  Then if we get more of smaller groups, we lose sense of strength and feel more inconvenient because of the smaller group.  As a result, we seek for the bigger group which could do a bigger job.  Both unity of smaller groups and division of a bigger group are happening not only in our history but also happening in our everyday life.  We can see this in the context of the opposite relationship between  "Stimulation and stability" or "special and general."

Anyway, war and peace, unity and division have been a very essence and backbone of the history which repeated itself.  But now with modern technology and power of the extremely strong weapons,  history may not repeat itself in the future because such a powerful weapons could extinct us so easily.  That's why to choose a right leader will be more and more important in the future.  






Meaning of Great

Mr. T says "Make America Great Again."  But I think America is already Great.  America gave me rights to live and work legally, freedom of speech, and religious liberty.  I'm very thankful to America for my sources of happiness and therefore I believe America is great.

On the other hand, what made Mr. T think that America is not great now.  Why?  I thought about the reason and finally found it out.  The reason was quite simple. 


My definition of "great" and his definition of "great" are totally different.  For Mr. T, "great" is understood as getting "more money" "more jobs" and "more factories in the US."   "Great" is used as a simple meaning of "rich."  I agree many people need to be employed and be richer.  In this sense, Mr. T is not wrong.

However....if much more factories come to America and hire more people to work, what will happen?   Is this the way for the country to be richer?  I am not sure the answer.


But at least I know one thing.  Prices of products are all going up because companies need to use more money to use workers.  Then if they spend more money, eventually they need to lay off people. 


Building walls at border is same thing.  If America is charging more tax for the foreign products, it's not foreign companies to pay tax but American companies need to pay more tax. And eventually it comes us customers who pay more to the products.

"Make America Great Again" sounds great and inspiring.  But to be rich is actually never easy.   And we need to have a different goal or direction if existing way doesn't work good.


Our goal is better to make our mother Earth great, not one country to be great. Through the many wars in the human history, we all know Fascio (nationalism) is out of fashion and globalism is the one we should grow. 


Needless to say, no countries can exist without our mother Earth.  Also we cannot live without our planet.  However, vice versa is not true.   Without country, Earth can live.  Without America, people can exist and we can live without Japan.


Once again, I think America is already "great" according to my definition and our next step is not to make America great but to make our Earth great!







2017 Quiz

Aloha!  Long time no see. 

For a long time, I forgot about this blog but I'm thinking to restart it because I have now desire to write more.  My condition has been like storing water.  Because I have just kept collecting water, now I need a way to release the water here. 

I am hoping I can provide more of interesting, useful and sometimes funny stories to you.  And above all, my wish is "Let all living beings be always happy and kind. "


Anyway I have a quiz.  It's very simple but very difficult.  The question is "How many cats can you see?"  Please guess the answer.


A. 0

B. 1

C. 2

D. many

E. So what?


The answer is.

























































































































































C. 2 cats!


Thank you for visiting our website and have a great day!






2017 Bon Dance Schedule

Kauai Buddhist Council

2017 Bon Dance Schedule


June 2-3           WKHM-Hanapepe 

June 9-10         Lihue Hongwanji 

June 16-17       Waimea Shingon 

June 23-24       Kapaa Jodo Mission 

June 30-July 1  No Bon Dance

July 7-8             WKHM-Waimea 

July 14-15         Kapaa Hongwanji 

July 21-22         Waimea Higashi Hongwanji 

July 28-29         Kauai Soto Zenshuji 

Aug 4-5              Koloa Jodo Mission


Aloha and Happy New Year!

2017 Kauai Bon Dance Schedule was approved at Kauai Buddhist Council Meeting last week.  There will be 18 songs this year including a new song called "Nippon Zenkoku Ohayashi Ondo."  Bon Dance Practice schedule was not set yet, but I let you know as soon as I get it.  Anyway, please mark Bon Dance schedule on your calendar and hope to see you soon.